BeeOasis Step 2
The bell rings. Students close their books and start packing their bags. Raising his voice, Professor Jones says, “Remember to read Chapter 6 before next class, and your first report is due in 3 days!” Some students groan. Mar y hurries back to her room. She’s got a lot of homework. She sets her mobile phone and her notebook computer on her desk. She opens her philosophy book to the section on Socrates, and she does a Google search for “Socrates and the Good Life.” It’s time to begin her paper on that topic.
Mary finds some good material, and she starts to write it up. But first she checks her Facebook page. Her friend Joyce has just uploaded some cool photos from her beach trip, and Mary writes some comments about them. Then she starts to write about Socrates. But in a few minutes, her mobile phone rings. It’s Steve. He wants to check about the time of the dinner party on Friday. It’s a short phone call, and Mary hangs up. But before she starts writing again, she updates her Twitter and Facebook pages about the party. Again she starts writing about Socrates, but in the middle of her first sentence, the Skype bell rings. It’s her mother, and she wants to video chat.
This is a typical story for students in today’s wired world. Mary is multi-tasking, that is, trying to do many things at once. But brain scientists say that multi-tasking is not a good way to work or study. Your brain doesn’t like it. Your brain has rules, good ways for working and learning. And if you try to multi-task, you are breaking one of the rules of your brain. How many rules does the brain have? The brain may have millions of rules, but Dr. John Medina has written a book that summarizes 12 important rules of the brain. The book is called Brain Rules.
Brain Rules is a good book for students. It is full of helpful information about learning. But professionals and business leaders will find it helpful, too. For example, Brain Rule #1 is “Exercise boosts brain power.” The brain likes to be in a body that moves. We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but maybe we didn’t know that exercise is good for our brains. Medina says that about four months of aerobic exercise can help improve “executive functions.” Executive functions have to do with managing yourself and your resources to reach a goal. Medina also says that exercise can help improve your memory as well.
But look at today’s offices and school classrooms. They are not good places for exercise, so Medina suggests that we change our office and study spaces. In Harvard Business Review (February 2008), Medina proposed a workplace that is good for brains. He suggested that workers can have meetings while they ride exercise machines. Workers can also have exercise machines at their desks. Then they can exercise and do email at the same time. Business and study can be competitive, and workers and learners need to be productive. Medina suggests that exercise is like magic for increasing productivity at work and school.
Exercise boosts brain power. But this is just one of the 12 brain rules. What are the other 11? If you are curious, you can learn about them in the book or on the book’s web site. Medina’s Brain Rules can remind you of a great secret. You have the best computer in the world. It’s the brain inside your head. But do you know how to take care of it? Do you know what your brain wants and needs? Do you know the rules of your brain? Brain Rules answers these questions, but it can also give you something else: a great way to get more power from your brain.
Click here to read a Step 3 version of this story.