Knowcross Blog

Optimizing our brain's performance

Aug 26, 2020 3:31:04 PM / by Karen O'Neill

Today’s workplace can be stressful!

Whether you have gone back to working with your property, back on the road or airplane, working from home or your corporate office… It may look different. In addition to the ongoing concerns related to COVID 19, many of us are in new surroundings, which come with new distractions and challenges to overcome.

One of the many things I really like about Knowcross is our diversity. I have worked for a few great companies in our industry but none as diverse in our workforce and actually our clients as Knowcross. As part of our commitment to our employee wellbeing during this uncertain time, we have tried to consider folding in new activities to bring us together and highlight our diversity which makes us stronger as an organization.

This week was a little different as we had the opportunity to have someone very important to me and very accomplished in her field, my sister in law Dee O’Neill, join us for an internal webinar focusing on optimizing brain performance. Dee has worked with several impressive organizations and even crossed into Hospitality by delivering the key note at the Global Gaming Expo, G2E in Las Vegas. We collaborated before the session and discussed the hospitality industry and the commitment to service so many of us have and the type of social creatures that are so predominant in many of the professionals in our industry. She shared how the pandemic really hits home, of course because of the given changes in our day to day but also because of who we are! The hospitality industry is so unique as it harnesses the true sense of community and dedication to service.

There were many reminders and takeaways that came from our time together. The ones that really resonated with me and are applicable to just about everyone (considering the lack of exclusion when dealing with the current circumstances) are the following: 

  1. Divide your to do list into Elephants and Rabbits. Elephants being the giant tasks so many of us have working with today’s obstacles of limited staffing, finances and distractions. They take some time to complete (45+minutes) and most importantly from a brain science perspective, require mental effort. Rabbits are those smaller tasks that multiply on you, sometimes without totally realizing. They matter, maybe they are time sensitive and there is a need to complete them as part of your normal obligations. To me, I consider emails my multiplying rabbit. Establish a goal of completing two of your most pressing To-Dos each day.
  1. Those of us who think we can multitask well, we probably really can’t. Studies have shown when we are toggling between two tasks, it takes a toll on not only our effectiveness, but our brain health as well, among other things, increasing the stress hormone Cortisol. Do yourself a favor, don’t multitask when you are working on those elephants. These larger tasks deserve your undivided attention and focus so try to prioritize when at your best and limit distractions.
  1. Brain Break 5x5- Treat your brain like other aspects of your body; you go to the dentist, you get a physical, take care of your brain too proactively. Incorporate a brain break into your daily routine. Start small, 5min breaks, 5 times per day, easily remembered as 5 x 5 to recharge and recalibrate your mental energy. Again, because we are mostly not going to an office and having the “water cooler” break, we need to ensure we are focusing on consistently making the time for this. Unplug, step away and dis engage.

As I reflect on this time period for professionals in our industry globally, I hope we all can utilize this time to focus on the importance of our health, including our brain health!

Go catch an elephant!

If you’d have any questions or would like further information from Dee and her many brain health and fitness resources, she has generously offered her contact information: (O) 972-638-7689. And check out here fall TEDx talk on harnessing stress for optimal performance:  

Topics: Knowcross, Mental Health, Brain

Karen O'Neill

Written by Karen O'Neill