National Diagnostic Solutions

1. Follow ideas through to various outcomes.

Entrepreneurs are often plagued with more ideas than time to deal with them in. Make it a habit to do idea exercises — come up with three possible outcomes for your next idea, even if there’s only one way you expect it to turn out. Visualize your idea in different ways. Make it a habit to consider more alternatives.

2. Add 10–20 minutes of aerobic exercise to your day.

Aerobic activity slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half and your risk of general dementia by 60 percent, according to John Medina, PhD, director of the Seattle Pacific University Brain Center for Applied Learning Research. (See

Hopefully, you’re exercising already for the physical benefits, but if not, the fact it can keep you sharp and even enhance your creativity should be great motivators!

3. Engage in stimulating conversation.

In real life — outside the computer or mobile phone screen. The art of conversation requires that we think on our feet, and conversing with someone smarter than you can be a fantastic exercise in quick thinking as well as an opportunity to learn something new. Seek out interesting people and engage them in conversation, however brief.

4. Take online courses.

You can learn just about anything online — even on a mobile device. Commit to learning something new every day, whether it’s during your transit to work, on your lunch break, or in the five spare minutes you have between meetings. Better yet, make it something super useful, like coding.

5. Give your brain a break.

You can’t be “on” all the time. Make productivity apps a part of your daily routine, to automate redundant tasks that take up your time and brain space.

6. Practice a hobby.

Make sure you’re doing something you love every day.

7. Look, Listen, Learn.

Try working a variety of media types into your day. Read reports, listen to podcasts, watch video clips where you can, and use gamified apps or sites when possible. Switch it up so you’re using more of your senses to take in information, and staying more engaged to retain more of it. If you’re finding yourself bored with reading or bogged down in audio files, take a break and try a new media type.

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