$30 off During Our Annual Pro Sale. View Details »

Hack your brain - Ways to improve your thought processes

September 11, 2019

Hack your brain - Ways to improve your thought processes

Sept 12th 2019 Talk @ Prairie.code in Des Moines, IA
This talk will be a look at how different psychological techniques that can help optimize our brains in both our professional and personal lives. There is a lot of interaction that can be found from studying and incorporating mindfulness, a growth mindset (believing that all things can be learned or improved through work and effort) and how building good habits sometimes require a retrospective (just like your sprints). Alway will do a quick dive into speed reading, and how even if you are a fast reader there is always room for improvement (and will help you in the long run with optimizing all that other learning you are doing).


September 11, 2019

More Decks by Christine

Other Decks in Technology


  1. @tech_christine Hack Your Brain Ways to improve your thought processes

  2. Flywheel

  3. @tech_christine You can improve yourself

  4. @tech_christine

  5. @tech_christine Evette Software Engineer Nick Network Engineer Dell Product Designer

    Peyton Product Manager
  6. @tech_christine What's her struggle? • Thoughts just keep circling around

    • Feels overwhelmed with worries and general chaos • Everything wrong is happening to her Evette Software Engineer
  7. @tech_christine A Solution? Mindfulness

  8. @tech_christine – Jon Kabat-Zinn professor/creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic

    and Center for Mindfulness “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally”
  9. @tech_christine What is mindfulness? • Mental habit of paying attention

    without thinking • Logging for your brain
  10. @tech_christine Let's try a quick meditation

  11. @tech_christine How to practice mindfulness • Focus your attention on

    something • Keep your focus, but don't judge yourself • Don't strive to hard •Simple but not easy
  12. @tech_christine Might even call this the Secret Sauce

  13. @tech_christine Am I going to need a lot of props?

  14. @tech_christine Nope There is no perfect way to meditate

  15. @tech_christine Do you have to do mindfulness meditation in order

    to be mindful?
  16. @tech_christine What can it help with? Emotional balance Response flexibility

    Down-regulation of fear
  17. @tech_christine But wait there's more... Insight Empathy Morality Intuition

  18. @tech_christine How will this help Evette? Thoughts just keep circling

    around • Allows her to redirect thoughts Feels overwhelmed with worries and general chaos • Helps with fear and chaos by down-regulating Everything wrong is happening to her • Helps her find insight and perspective Evette Software Engineer
  19. @tech_christine What is the struggle? • They have a resolution

    list a mile long • Starts and stops trying to tackle procrastination, healthy eating, exercise... • Lots of to-do lists Dell Product Designer
  20. @tech_christine An idea to help? Habit building

  21. @tech_christine –Will Durant, writer/historian/philosopher (often attributed to Aristotle) “…we are

    what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.”
  22. @tech_christine What is a habit? • Not just "something you

    do every day" • Frequently recurring behaviors, that trigger when a cue is encountered • Then the behavior is performed automatically
  23. @tech_christine Think of habits like helper scripts Once you write

    one, just run it at it works Once a habit is ingrained, it becomes automatic
  24. @tech_christine

  25. @tech_christine Example Habits • When you wake up (trigger), you

    brush your teeth (habit). • When you get to work (trigger), you check your email/slack (habit). • When you get stressed (trigger), you eat cheetos/ chocolate (habit).
  26. @tech_christine How to form a habit? 1. Identify your goal

    2. Create environmental triggers 3. Define your reward
  27. @tech_christine Identify the trigger •Figure out existing triggers •Look for

    something already in your routine •Examples: •Showering •Eating Breakfast •Commuting
  28. @tech_christine

  29. @tech_christine The Negative Habit Loop

  30. @tech_christine Tips for making a habit stick •Find what you

    like about the habit •Have a habit buddy •Have a way of keeping score •Make it hard to not do the habit
  31. @tech_christine Treat your habit like a sprint and have a

  32. @tech_christine How will this help Dell? They have a resolution

    list a mile long • Mark that list off one at a time Starts and stops trying to tackle procrastination, healthy eating, exercise... • Habits build on habits, start small Lots of to-do lists • Make sure the habit is part of a long term goal Dell Product Designer
  33. @tech_christine What is the struggle? •Avoids Challenges •Gives up easily

    •Feels threatened by the success of others Nick Network Engineer
  34. @tech_christine What is a solution? Growth Mindset

  35. @tech_christine

  36. Think of yourself like vanilla software It is just a

    starting point, can always improve with more add-ons and frameworks
  37. @tech_christine Belief ➡ Action ➡ Growth

  38. @tech_christine Questions to challenge why • Why hide deficiencies instead

    of overcoming them? • Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? • Why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you?
  39. @tech_christine

  40. @tech_christine Fixed vs Growth Mindset I suck at math vs

    Math has been challenging for me I’ll never be an artist vs I feel dissatisfied with all of the art I’ve tried to make I’m not good at handstands vs I haven’t learned how to do handstands yet
  41. @tech_christine

  42. @tech_christine How to put it into practice? • Accept you

    are not perfect, but can improve • Change your perspective on failure and criticism • Don't focus on the end result, focus on the process • Learning fast != learning well
  43. @tech_christine If you find yourself discouraged Remember, “I’m just not

    good at this yet.”
  44. @tech_christine Imposter syndrome and mindset • Just a mindset •

    Like a fixed mindset, it might be helped by focusing on growth xkcd.com/1954
  45. @tech_christine How will this help Nick? Avoids Challenges •Embrace Challenges

    for learning opportunities Gives up easily •Only through some perseverance can you learn Feels threatened by the success of others •Find lessons and inspirations in others success Nick Network Engineer
  46. @tech_christine What is the struggle? • Has a long reading

    list and no time • Backlog of emails and articles to read • Wants to stay current in tech and business articles Peyton Product Manager
  47. @tech_christine A solution? Speed Reading

  48. @tech_christine Reading is a three step process 1. Fixate 2.

    Saccade 3. Process
  49. @tech_christine Speed Reading Techniques •Skimming •Meta guiding •Rapid Serial Visual

    Presentation (RSVP)
  50. @tech_christine RSVP Example

  51. @tech_christine Increase your throughput

  52. @tech_christine Note of caution speed and comprehension can be a

  53. @tech_christine A solution? Speed Reading Smarter Reading (which might make

    you faster)
  54. @tech_christine Better Reading Technique 1. Skim before 2. Improve your

    fluency to help your speed 3. Know what you want, before reading 4. For better retention, think and examine the text
  55. @tech_christine How will this help Peyton? Has a long reading

    list and no time • Reading time gains will help cut that list Backlog of emails and articles to read • Skim the ones with less retention needed, read smarter with others Wants to stay current in tech and business articles • Will be a thing of the past Peyton Product Manager
  56. @tech_christine Evette Software Engineer Nick Network Engineer Dell Product Designer

    Peyton Product Manager Mindfulness Growth Mindset Habit Building Speed Reading # ✒
  57. @tech_christine Mindfulness Growth Mindset Habit Building Speed Reading # ✒

  58. @tech_christine What questions do you have?

  59. @tech_christine Put your comments and feedback here!

  60. @tech_christine Mindfulness Resources • Timeless Truths for Modern Mindfulness by

    Arnie Kozak • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn • https://nickwignall.com/how-to-start-a-mindfulness-practice/ • https://www.mindful.org/jon-kabat-zinn-defining-mindfulness/ • https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/mindfulnessmatters/2016/09/ why-i-meditate.html#Zaf9kZtxufdT1z3W.99 • https://counterculturist.net/mindfulness-meditation-beginners/ • http://bethannvetter.com/meditation-or-attunement? • https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/what-does- mindfulness-meditation-do-to-your-brain/
  61. @tech_christine Habit Building • Essential Zen Habits: Mastering the Art

    of Change, Briefly by Leo Babauta • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg • https://zenhabits.net/how-habits-are-formed/ • https://zenhabits.net/habit-motivations/ • https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2009/aug/how-long-does-it-take-form- habit • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-media-psychology- effect/201705/the-habit-replacement-loop
  62. @tech_christine Growth Mindset Resources • Mindset: The New Psychology of

    Success by Carol S. Dweck • https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/ • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836039/ • http://theconversation.com/growth-mindset-interventions-yield- impressive-results-97423 • https://fs.blog/2015/03/carol-dweck-mindset/ • https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually- means • https://scholarworks.uvm.edu/tvc/vol34/iss1/6/
  63. @tech_christine Speed Reading • Language at the Speed of Sight:

    How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It by Mark Seidenberg • https://tim.blog/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated- learning/ • https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2015/01/19/speed-reading- redo/ • https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/BF03197271 • https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone. 0036091 • https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4229
  64. @tech_christine christine-seeman.com/talks Thank you to Prairie.code organizers and volunteers! And

    to all of you for attending today '
  65. getflywheel.com/about/careers