Brain food is an important element to fuel you through the day. I’m not talking about just blueberries, fish and nuts – but metaphorical brain food. For us at Shout It Out Design, brain food is made up of the resources that recharge and inspire!
The need for brain food is not limited by industry. Whether you work in a manufacturing setting, a retail environment or provide professional services, you can benefit from the creative spark found outside of work-related tasks. Innovative companies dedicate time to brain-food-type activities, like 3M who has allowed employees to spend 15 percent of their work week on non-work pursuits since 1948. 3M and other businesses see the value that these inspirational endeavors have on their employees, and they see that inspiration pay dividends in the workplace.
In our increasingly-hectic-over-stimulated lives, making room for some brain food in your schedule may also help improve your overall happiness. And increased happiness can boost your productivity at work – so you can tackle that crazy to do list more easily!
Now that I’ve made my argument for some “you time,” here are my top picks for brain food to inspire and energize. Bon appétit!
One of my favorite sources of inspiration, Wordsmith.org’s A.Word.A.Day e-newsletter, has been called “The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace” by The New York Times. And that’s no exaggeration!
Monday through Friday, wordsmith.org sends a new word related to that week’s theme. Occasionally these will be words you already use, but more often than not wordsmith.org will help you discover delightful new words or uncover new meanings to familiar words! And – the subscription is free.
One of my favorite recently-featured words is “dabster,” which could either mean an expert or a bungler. This word was included in a week of words with two opposite meanings. #LearnedSomethingNewThatDay
Time Needed for Wordsmith.org: 2 Minutes a Day
Pocket is a one-step resource for saving URLs that you want to revisit at a later time. You can install Pocket applications on your browsers, phone, tablet, etc. to sync all of the online content you want save. One click on your pocket app and the article is tucked away for you to read later. Super handy!
But what I love most about Pocket is their daily “Pocket Hits” email. The email is made up of the most popular content that users are pocketing all over the world. This delivers some extra cool articles directly to you, providing brain food and cocktail party fodder!
If you subscribe to Pocket you’ll automatically get access to their daily “Pocket Hits” list. The basic subscription to Pocket is free, though you can upgrade for premium features. Even if you don’t subscribe to Pocket, you can still check out their trending content on twitter.
Time Needed for Pocket Hits: 5-10 Minutes a Day
It might sound cheesy to say an app can be life-changing, but I would go as far to say that Headspace has changed my life. This program teaches you how to meditate through short, guided sessions. Host Andy Puddicombe gives great context for the techniques he teaches, helping to take meditation from abstract to applicable in your everyday life.
While the benefits of meditation are numerous, I would say the biggest benefit for me has been the ability to quiet my brain when needed. (As someone who would isn’t normally described as “chill,” this is huge!)
You can try headspace for free, with access to ten 10-minute sessions that you can use as many times as you’d like. There is also a paid version of the app, that provides several more focused mediation tracks and allows you to vary the length of your meditation. I’ve tried both the free version and the paid version and recommend them both!
Pro Tip: Make sure you don’t try to meditate in bed, or you’ll be “napitating” before you know it.
Time Needed for Headspace: 10+ Minutes a Day
Radiolab is by far my favorite podcast. No matter what the topic, Radiolab covers it in a fun, engaging format! From microbes to underwater sounds, this podcast will provide inspiring content that you want to share with others.
They even make the credits interesting, with listeners calling in from around the world to read them!
Time Needed for Radiolab: 30-60 Minutes a Week
I hope these ideas got your mouth/brain watering! And stay tuned for John to serve up his favorite brain food.
Do you have brain food you want to share with us? Give us a shout; we’d love to hear about it!