An interesting little story we did this morning in between the Kavanaugh updates and Rosenstein breaking news had to do with whether you burn calories by thinking...you do. Your brain makes up 2% of your body weight yet takes 20% of your energy. It makes sense that you'd burn a few calories.
Ewan McNay, an assistant professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Albany proved it in research to quantify the metabolic burn of your brain. He came up with about 320 calories a day (not counting basic bodily functions like breathing). It's not enough to get you ready for iron man for sure but it's not a tiny amount either. The harder the task, the more you burn which makes sense if you've ever been exhausted after a long day of problem-solving at work or school.
How we choose to use our 320 can impact our success, particularly if we're trying to work through multiple problems or challenges at once. You can end up using a lot of brain energy on things that won't immediately move you forward or bring resolution to something you're struggling with. This is why I love Gary Kellerman's book "The One Thing". I read it last year but I come back to the central theme over and over when I find my focus wavering. It says, "What is the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?". This phrase has helped me many times when I found myself needing to meet multiple deadlines or feeling overwhelmed by projects.
My partner Dan Mitchinson gave me some good insight when I started the morning shift. He said, "You will find yourself back timing your day". He meant I'd be constantly calculating how much I could get done before needing to head to bed for the early morning wake up call because the days move surprisingly fast. I think more than my day, I'm back timing my brain. When do I need to do my high IQ work? When is my 320 for the day spent? What is the one thing I can do that will move all of my projects and initiatives forward? What is the one thing you can do this week? Your brain has about 1280 calories left in this work week to make it happen.
Book Recommendation: The One Thing, The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results, Gary Keller with Jay Papasan