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This email: 4 minutes and 17 seconds of reading.

Your week: 10,075 minutes and 43 seconds of optimisation.

Good morning! Well, folks. 2018 departs in three weeks. You have 21 days to shatter those remaining goals. We’ll help you get there.

Dawn's Big Three This Week:

1) 🥑 Food For Thought:

Walnuts, walnuts, walnuts. This brainy holiday snack will boost your brain's overall health and help you focus on your goals. Buy a nutcracker too if you’re really keen.

2) 🧠 Make It Brain:

The life-giving nature of deadlines. Pen some deadlines in ink and sprint. Research shows that imposing deadlines on our tasks will spike our own productivity.

3) 🥇 Motivation Station:

It's about quality not quantity when it comes to relationships. Be present to your people. Quality relationships keep us happier and healthier as we age.  

Knowledge is human potential. Share it. 

🥑 Food For Thought 💭

Your Brain on Walnuts

The TL;DR ⌚️
('Too long, didn't read', for any of you too embarrassed to ask.)

Are you already dodging mini sausages and mince pies? You’re not alone.

When faced with cravings at holiday parties, many people stress about expanding waistlines. Don’t bother with that rubbish. You’re opportunistic. See the holidays as a chance to fatten your brain.

At your next festive gathering, locate the bowl of nuts and get cracking. Those decorative soldiers know what’s up. Walnuts are the life of the party.

Brain-Shaped Nuts

Walnuts contain an impressive amount of essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6).

These healthy fats boost brain performance by maintaining plasticity and stabilizing nerve cell membranes. They’ll also help take the edge off remembering names and faces this holiday season. How perfect.

A different 80/20

At rest, your brain contributes to up to 20% of your metabolism. This rate kicks up fast when you’re hard at work, pouring over year-end reports or attempting small talk at your partner’s annual staff party.

A healthy brain needs proper fuel and a balanced portion of fatty acids is key.

So any nut will do?

Nuts and seeds are all terrific but walnuts score the most points among all tree nuts. They have the highest optimum ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s.

And this pair of fatty acids is an antioxidant dynamic duo, fighting free radicals and restoring balance to improve cognitive performance.

If you feel your mind and body lagging in the coming weeks, opt for walnuts. Stock them at home and at work. A fistful will boost your brain, maintain its overall health, and help you focus on your goals. Expand your mind, not your waistline.

For the nerdy 🤓: Brain Food Essentials: Walnuts

​☔ ​​Make It Brain 🧠

Deadline or Lifeline?

The TL;DR ⌚️

The word "deadline" can often elicit negative reactions. Just ask a procrastinator and watch them break into a cold sweat.

It’s a shame because, unlike your opinionated distant relative, deadlines shouldn't be avoided. Wildly successful people know self-imposed personal deadlines are paramount.

Finish lines stir up productivity and get results faster than you can say, "This can probably wait until tomorrow."

The key is to motivate yourself with a mouth-watering reward and a nasty self-enforced punishment if you don't hit the mark.

Here's an example. "If I complete X before 5pm, I can board that plane to Rome and feast for days. If not, I'll just head home, finish yesterday's leftovers and binge on Netflix by myself." A bit extreme but you get the idea.

Does this really work?

In a word, yes. A team at Scientific American's behavioural research laboratory (a.k.a. the Common Cents Lab) methodically studied whether imposing a deadline would drive small business owners to complete tedious online loan applications.

Researchers’ work revealed that simply adding a deadline resulted in 24% more confirmed applications.

Even more impressive, when researchers offered business owners an appealing incentive but gave them even less time to submit their application, the completion rate boosted a further 26%.

So what? I don't need a loan.

Great. You probably don’t need extra time either. Most procrastination stems from putting off tasks that don't offer immediate benefits. It's up to us to sweeten the deal and spike our own productivity.

Thankfully, success is its own reward and eventually, the practice of dealing in deadlines becomes a reflex.


For the nerdy 🤓: Common Sense Lab's in-depth results

🥇​Motivation Station 🏃‍♀️

Love Is All You Need 

The TL;DR ⌚️

Chances are your December social calendar is threatening to steal your sanity. But, again, you see obstacles as opportunities.

Your mission this year is to seek out your favourite people (or meet some spectacular new ones.) Either way, take time to invest heavily in the right people. You’ll probably live longer.

This isn’t fluffy idealism—it’s a fact backed by one of Harvard’s longest longitudinal academic studies. Quality relationships keep us happier and healthier as we age.

A Tale of Two Cohorts

If you’re not familiar, Harvard’s Grant and Gluck study has steadily tracked two groups of men for more than 75 years. The first group was comprised of 268 upper-crust Harvard graduates from the classes of 1939-1944. The second, 456 men from Boston’s poorer areas.

Researchers set out to understand how intimate relationships affect life in later decades, specifically how relational intimacy is linked with health and well-being.

Their discovery? Warm relationships are the linchpin to a happy and satisfying life.

Great. I have loads of friends. 

Think again. How much time do you spend face to face with the people you love?

Social media moderates relationships and has done so for more than a decade now. According to Facebook’s latest quarterly report, 2.27 billion people actively meet their social quota seeking “friends” and generating followers on the ubiquitous platform. Let’s not forget about time spent on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. (We’re guilty of these vices too.)

Convenience is an appealing alternative to spending time with real people. Human beings are complicated. Avatars are not.

But chew on this: Social media didn’t interfere with the men in the Grant and Gluck study. They picked up the phone. They met at the pub. They lived hashtag-free and lived to tell.

Now’s a good time to assess your relationships. Are you using your time to invest in the people closest to you? Because in the end, it’s all about people.

Not making another connection on LinkedIn.

Not scoring that promotion.

Not creating viral content.

Not snagging a prestigious award.

Not even keeping tabs on my internet-famous kittens.

Shocking, I know.

If we want satisfying and happy lives, we must be present with the people we love. When it comes to relationships, think quality over quantity and go all in.

For the nerdy🤓: A closer look at Harvard’s famous study

Spread the love and share the newsletter with a friend HERE 

What We Love This Week

🎧 3D Audio? That’s so Last Christmas. What does Wham sound like in 8 Dimensions? Exactly. Grab your headphones and enjoy. Thank us later.

📖 12 Rules For Life by Dr Jordan B. Peterson. This controversial Canadian psychologist is 2018’s top-selling author for a reason. Prepare to have your opinions challenged by thoughtful research in a totally non-boring way.

📽This system helps paralysed people send thoughts to a computer so they can do pretty much anything by just thinking. The future is here, folks.

You’re talking. We’re listening.

“Dawn is a refreshing, optimistic and lighthearted start to my morning, full of practical advice and quirky, quick-to-implement practices for a more productive day ahead.”

Jess Butcher MBE, Co-Founder Blippar & Tick

“Dawn quickly rounds up the kind of info that gets me ready for the week ahead ‘brain food’ as they call it. I think about it as my ideal start to the week: intellectual and funny in equal parts. I've recommended it far and wide. It’s brilliant.”

Ladi Greenstreet, Head of Healthcare for Accenture Ventures

Thanks for the dopamine hits, people. Your feedback helps us reach our potential. Keep it coming.

Remember: 21 days until champagne and midnight kisses. Off you go. Set some ambitious deadlines and reward yourself by eating walnuts in the company of cherished friends.

Until next week,


PS. Wanna give the gift of brain food? Forward this to a friend. Dawn is the perfect gift any holiday, including Festivus.


PS: Like what you just read? Care to tell some friends about your new Monday dispatch? We want everyone to reach their potential and we'd be so chuffed xx

Copyright © 2018 Dawn, All rights reserved.

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