When the Brain Runs Out

We have a saying in Germany: “At the end of the money, I had so much month left!”

On a day-to-day basis, our brains are often the same. When you’re out of brain at 4 PM, you have there options:

  1. Fight the trend, and do shoddy work for another three hours.
  2. Kick yourself for not being able to focus anymore for three hours.
  3. Go home and get a head start on recovery — of about three hours.

Most of the time, we choose some combination of 1 and 2. I do it all the time, but actually, I’d be much better off with option 3.

When, at the end of the brain, there’s still a lot of day left, use it for something that doesn’t require your brain as the star of the show! Close your laptop, and write off the rest of the brain budget — sometimes, it just isn’t there. Then, get on with your day, and try again tomorrow.

It’s true that our brain power often runs out before we’d like it to, but it also almost always recovers fully overnight. Those two magic tricks go hand in hand, but, as with any performer-in-training, it’s up to us to know when and which card to play.