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Productivity Tips

Brain Fun: Work Smarter, Not Harder

By Paul H. Burton

Good ideas come from all sorts of unlikely places. A Walgreens insert in a recent Sunday paper contained a list of ways to make our brains healthier and more productive. A few of the recommendations were particularly interesting to me.

Write in red ink. A new study out of Germany found that the color red “binds” into our memory better than other colors. That means we should use red ink to track important things — like that to-do list.

Engage in regular aerobic exercise. It’s not news that a healthy body is a productive body. However, a new study released by the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise increases the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps us learn and remember things. So, let’s get walking, skipping, dancing and running!

Brush with the opposite hand. Use the non-dominant hand to brush your teeth. It forces the brain to rewire and increases the brain’s cognitive functions by spurring new brain cells to grow.

Be a local tourist. Every month, pick one or two new things to do locally from the community calendar. See a new sight or engage in a new activity. New brain cells grow when the brain does new things. It also drives a great sense of connection to place, and that enhances your daily life experience.

Color. It’s not just for kids anymore. Coloring eases stress and promotes creative thinking, both of which have positive impacts on the brain and your sense of well-being. (Coloring books for adults can now be found all over your local bookstore and online.)

Keeping your brain healthy and functioning productively ensures that you get more done and enjoy greater personal and professional satisfaction. Pick one or two of these ideas for your next self-improvement project.

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Paul H. Burton

Paul Burton is a former corporate finance attorney and General Counsel who helps lawyers and legal professionals make the best use of their time. The author of eight guides on individual and leadership productivity, he delivers seminars and coaching services to busy professionals across the United States. You can learn more about Paul and his practice at

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