By Ryan Burch
(This article originally appeared on Best Kept Self)
As a busy entrepreneur, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your work life that you become overwhelmed and out of touch with what’s going on around you. And if you’re anything like me (event manager by day, writer by night), your “free time” likely gets spent checking emails and social media—worrying about all the things you “should” be doing to further your brand online.
So how do we counteract this habit of wasting time scanning social media and constantly obsessing about our work? How can we better utilize the pockets of free time that we do have to become smarter, wiser, and more aware of issues in the world?
Although I’m certainly no expert when it comes to time management, I’ve made it my 2016 goal to become much more aware of how I’m spending my time, and to develop habits that build focus, clarity, and add greater value to my life.
Sound like something you’d be interested in too? Then you’ll love the following five ways to boost your brain power:
1. Utilize the “News” App
This app is incredible! Simply sign in and select your favorite kinds of new stories and media outlets, and it will aggregate personalized articles for you every time you sign in (similar to Pinterest!).
Instead of scrolling through Instagram, try opening up the news app at least once a day to learn about something interesting going on in the world (ideally outside of your line of work)!
2. Listen to uplifting podcasts
Although it’s great to zone out to music during your commute—swapping in a podcast is a great way to get your wheels turning and gain fresh perspectives on work and life.
Erica recently wrote an article on SOLO (“5 Uplifting Podcasts For Entrepreneurial Women”) highlighting five up and comers who offer helpful and healthful insights for women interested in leading an authentic and empowered life.
3. Play Mind Puzzles
Brainteaser apps are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, improve cognitive abilities and boost your overall brainpower. The following three are some of the most buzzed about, and can be found for free on the app store!
Lumosity: Designed by neuroscientists, this app helps build mental skills including memory and concentration.
Personal Zen: This app helps generate positivity and aids in keeping you calm (they actually recommend using the app before going into a stressful situation!).
Eidetic: Tired of forgetting names and numbers? This app uses what’s called “spaced repetition” to help improve your memorization skills.
4. Swap out your regular programming for entrepreneurial shows & documentaries
I’m a big fan of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” “The Prophet” and “Restaurant Start Up” – which (although a touch over-dramatic) will teach you effective business and marketing strategies, as well as the do’s and don’ts of pitching and negotiating!
Netflix also offers a wide range of fascinating documentaries that will teach you about business, technology and entrepreneurship (such as the following three).
“Elon Musk: Bloomberg Risk Takers”
This must watch documentary profiles Elon Musk, the genius entrepreneur who revolutionized e-commerce online (PayPal), created Tesla, and built the first-ever commercial space rocket (SpaceX)
“Anna Wintour: Bloomberg Game Changers”
In this short documentary, learn how Anna Wintour went from being a high school dropout to one of fashion’s most powerful icons.
Learn about Pixar’s rocky journey to becoming a multi-billion dollar animation powerhouse!
5. Follow inspiring accounts on Instagram
Even if you have a love/hate relationship with Instagram (like I do…), it's like that you’re still going to use it! Therefore, it makes sense to populate your page with people that provide inspiration and education.
Here are a few great accounts for daily career inspiration and pick-me-up quotes!
Levo League: @levoleague
(Great motivational posts to help navigate your career)
Career Contessa: @careercontessa
(Awesome quotes from fierce, funny & famous females)
Over The Moon Mag: @overthemoonmag
(“Spiritual that feels more like sipping champagne and less like burning incense”)
Simply Stylist: @simplystylistxo
(Offering up some of the best quotes for every #girlboss)
(Had to plug the SOLO IG! We offer purposeful posts in the realm of health & personal development)