L Shake Things Up A Bit

]5y using daily exposure and routine, your cortex and hippocampus have constructed a spatial "map" ofyour desktop so that very little mental effort is required to locate your computer mouse, telephone, stapler, wastebasket, and other office tools. Arbitrarily reposition everything. While you're at it, switch your watch to your other wrist.

Scrambling the location of familiar objects you normally reach for without thinking reactivates spatial learning networks and gets your visual and somatosensory brain areas back to work, ad-justingyour internal maps.

Moving things around doesn't have to be restricted to your desktop or furniture. Ifyour work schedule is flexible enough, rearrange the order in which you accomplish daily tasks. Do you look at your mail first thing in the morning? Try another time. Can you take your breaks half an hour earlier or later? Or change regularly scheduled meetings from the morning to the afternoon? Within the constraints of your line of work, incorporate a little "disorder."

# If you want to see the immediate result of rearranging familiar things, simply move your wastebasketfrom its long-standingposi-tion. You'll notice that each time you have something to throw away, you aim at the old spot. The sensory and motor pathways in your brain have been programmed by repeated experience to throw apiece of paper in a certain direction. That moment when you catch yourself and redirect your actions reflectsyour brains increased alertness to a novel situation and the beginnings of a new series of instructions being entered into your mental program.

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