Boost Your Brain: The Brain Science Secrets of Motivation, Productivity & Peak Performance

Dr. Brynn Winegard is not your conventional neuroscience speaker. Whether keynoting—as she is for CPHR BC & Yukon at the upcoming HR Conference + Tradeshow in May 2018—or delivering a workshop, she engages her audiences on why we do what we do and the important role our brain plays in literally every aspect of our day. On stage, Dr. Winegard is an energetic, professional and enthusiastic speaker who simultaneously informs, and inspires. Whether she’s sharing why women multi-task or she’s talking about just how fast our brains process information, she has the unique ability to make brain science accessible to every level of science knowledge.

Media has dubbed you a ‘business-brain’ expert, and you are currently ranked #7 in the world by some authorities of human behavior experts to follow—though mixing business and brain-science is otherwise a unique combination. What got you interested in brain science for business?
I have always been fascinated by the human brain and its inner workings—this malleable super-computer, 200 million years old, unique to each one of us, that controls everything about us, including how we perceive, react to, and experience the world. As a child of about 3 years I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I wrote down ‘nerosirgin’, not knowing how exactly to spell “neurosurgeon.”

Years later I discovered I wanted to work on the brain, but not surgically. I have a former supervisor who always told me that “Research is ME-search!’ so your insight is as good as mine about what that means for me! Every day we are learning more about the human brain and it never ceases to amaze and delight me— like a deep sea adventure or space odyssey, but right inside your very own cranium, immediately accessible, totally personal. It is these frontier findings and the accompanying insights, wonder, passion that I bring to audiences. Business people can benefit immediately from what science is constantly uncovering—they just need it unpacked, decrypted, and explained properly!

Tell us about what your approach and research findings so successful?
I think practicing active curiosity, optimism, and enthusiasm are valuable. These traits help to continually learn, to always see the bright side, to have high energy for ideas and people, to overcome obstacles, to be constantly searching for new insights, unique perspective, practical ways of using what I learn.

I have a passion for marrying practice with theory. It isn’t enough for me that something would be interesting in theory or in principle. I am always pushing for what it means in terms of how we can do our jobs more effectively, live our lives more fully, feel more contented, be more successful, become higher performers, feel more motivated, etc.

My passion on stage isn’t put on. Audiences are getting the latest frontier research and the resulting insights I mix with management science (what makes me a ‘business-brain scientist’) first-hand and fresh; I am genuinely excited about what our newest learnings can mean for audience members, at their jobs and  in their lives. It is exciting and powerful to decode highly technical research and use it to help people change their lives for the better!

What is the single greatest myth regarding engagement and productivity that has been dispelled by neuroscience?
One of my favorite myths (and there are many!) is that multi-tasking exists: neuroscience proves that it doesn’t. The brain is a serial-processor that consciously does only one thing at a time. It is not a “parallel processor,” like most computers are.

The analogy I often use is eating dinner with someone who eats their peas, then their carrots, and then their meat, all in order versus the diner who eats a bit of everything on the plate at the same time. Your brain is the former—it does one thing at a time and then moves on to the next task. Many, women especially (likely because of a larger corpus callosum, but I digress), will assert that they are in fact great multi-taskers, when in fact what they are doing is “code-switching,” rapidly. Code-switching involves a refractory period wherein nothing gets done – drastically decreasing a person’s productivity.

What’s interesting is how many job descriptions and postings will call for ‘multi-tasking’ as a key trait of the successful candidate – not language or behavior we should be rewarding if we actually want the best for and out of our people!

Further, research shows that code-switching is like a form of self-distraction, or self-handicapping—behavior we see in many animals when they become critically overwhelmed.

Accordingly, one thing you can do to increase your productivity would be to stop even attempting to multi-task. Instead, work the way the brain wants you to work – one thing at a time, in some logical sequence, separated by breaks of no more than 20 minutes, taking tasks from beginning to completion over a traceable length of time – this will increase productivity, efficacy, efficiency, focus, cognitive deliberateness, as well as ultimate satisfaction and endorphin release about a ‘job well done’!

What can audience members expect from you in May and how does this tie into this year’s theme of “IMPACT”?
There is a gap between what science knows and what business does. Clients hire me to help explain—and close—that chasm. I bring a good mix of theory and practice—someone who does and understands the research, but has also worked in industry and knows what it is really like, what is really required.

I try to make science interesting and accessible in a highly practical way. Brain-science in particular is easy to do this with—everyone has a brain‚so audiences identify with the message on both a personal and professional level. My talks are a unique whirlwind of ideas and energy: high-energy, fast-paced, interactive and fun.

In a male-dominated industry, I am one of the few females on the circuit. You will leave feeling inspired, energized, excited and motivated—as well as armed with newfound insights to help you stay that way throughout your day and work-week!

The theme of your event this year is “IMPACT,” and how better to have a bigger impact in life, at work, and for our organizations than to maximize the efficacy and impact our brain is having every day. On stage in May, I will have 20 or more tips, tricks, and tools like the one above (stop ‘multitasking’!) to help increase your brain’s productivity, resulting motivation, and ultimate performance for greatest “IMPACT” in all you do.

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