Sharpening the pencil
by

In my house we do a lot of drawing. I’ve lost track of the number of pencils and related art supplies that are floating around—in kitchen drawers, in a mug on a desk, mixed in with the markers and crayons—I’ve probably come across one or two on a bathroom window sill (I don’t want to know why). But sooner or later, they all end up in the same place: at the electric pencil sharpener on the kitchen counter.

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Dull pencils simply don’t work as well. Sure, you can write with them, but what results is muddy and unclear. A sharpened pencil is clean, decisive, and crisp. Take a moment and think—which of these depicts your brain right now?

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How sharp is your brain?

Our brains can also become muddy and unclear, but you can take steps to get yourself back to clean, decisive, and crisp! Here are four things you can do today to help turn your mind from dull to sharp:

1. Inspire yourself
We feature a new list every month of books, websites, and anything else you can think of that inspires us individually and as a team. You can also take note of the little things that inspire you in your day and contribute your comments to ours, or share with your friends.

2. Keep up with industry trends
Are you subscribed to the latest blogs and podcasts in your field? Be in the know about what is going on and stay on trend.

3. Nourish it
If your brain is feeling sluggish, have that coffee, but don’t forget that the best way to stay hydrated and alert is with water! Drink water throughout the day and get a good eight hours of sleep each night to help keep you alert (and healthy). Have a water bottle with you, flavor it with fruit and herb infusions or cucumber slices, anything that gets you to drink it. (We even have one colleague who uses a splash of apple cider vinegar.)

4. Excercise your mind
Studies suggest that playing board games can help ward off Alzheimer’s. So pull out the chess board, Monopoly, or Scrabble; do a crossword puzzle, or get out that deck of cards. Find a challenging interactive app like Letterpress to keep you interactive and sharp. Learning a language or a musical instrument works too. Be open to new things and new challenges, and always be ready to learn something new.

And for Pete’s sake, if you have any dull pencils on your desk, get up and sharpen them now.

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