Fast thinking is important to be successful at what you do. Instead of relying on your current abilities, learn the 15 best strategies for how you can become a quick thinker.
Quick thinking comes in handy in many situations. It is a valuable skill for both, your business and private life. Just imagine how many times would a quick brain help you out.
But no matter your current brain speed, you can always ramp it up.
Before I share the tips with you, let’s have a look at the benefits of quick thinking.
Benefits Of Fast Thinking
When people see a person who is a fast thinker, they often assume he or she is a very intelligent person. While this can be the case, you don’t need a high IQ to think fast.
If you improve your brain performance and learn specific strategies that we will cover later on, you can expect many benefits, such as:
- Fast thinking will help you with studying and acquiring new knowledge
- Fast thinking can lead to faster reaction times, which is beneficial if you are an athlete
- People who are required to think quickly report being happier, more creative, self-assured, and self-confident [*]
- Fast thinkers are more confident in social interactions, when giving presentations, or when working with customers
- Fast thinking can improve your decision making, planning, goal setting, and problem-solving skills
- Faster thinkers are seen as more charismatic people [*]
- If you develop faster thinking, you can make better decisions in your private life. This will help you stay healthier and mentally sharp
As you can see, the ability to think fast can tremendously impact your life. But why exactly is your current processing speed not as high as you would want to?
Factors That Impact Your Brain Processing Speed
A variety of factors impact your thinking – from lifestyle decisions and age to your health and genes.
The normal aging process is associated with decline in cognitive abilities. The most significant impact is seen in processing speed, language, memory, and executive functions. [*] As we will later discuss, you can slow your cognitive decline by optimizing your lifestyle.
Your genes can play a factor in your processing speed. A clinical study on twins found that genes impact mental processing speed. [*] With the development of epigenetics, we know that our lifestyle plays a role in which genes will express and which not.
Your brain runs on glucose. Too little or too much glucose can impact your brain function. Also, a low-quality diet can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that all those factors impact your ability to think fast. [*]
Lack of physical activity, stress, depression, and environmental toxins can impact your processing speed. [*]
A brain injury can leave long-lasting effects on your thinking speed. If you damage your prefrontal cortex, you will have issues with planning, problem-solving, and organization. If you damage your temporal lobes, it won’t be easy to learn and retain new information. [*]
Medications And Slow Thinking
Give your brain and body the wrong medications, and your thinking skill may decrease even further. For example, antidepressants can impact your ability to think. Anticholinergic medications can impact your brain function, learning, and memory. SSRIs can boost your serotonin levels, which can decrease your dopamine levels. Low dopamine levels are associated with a short attention span.
If you have mental issues while taking any medications, you should consult your doctor and discuss the potential correlation.
But is fast thinking the most important skill in your life? Or is accurate thinking more critical?
Fast Thinking Vs. Accurate Thinking
You could argue that quick thinking is less important than accurate thinking. If you think quickly, but you make many errors, what’s the point?
Obviously, the optimal way is to be a quick thinker and to be very accurate, but how can you achieve that?
Firstly, let’s understand what processing speed is. Processing speed is, by definition, a measure of time required to respond to and process information. It is the pace at which you take in new information, process it, and respond to it. [*]
So the limitation is the accuracy at a specific processing speed. You can always try to increase your thinking speed as long as the accuracy doesn’t decrease. And there is always a trade-off between the two.
Let’s check how to be a quick thinker without losing the quality of thinking.
15 Ways To Think Faster
1. Stop Multitasking
Studies show that there is no such thing as multitasking. [*] Whenever people think they multitask, they are just quickly switching between the tasks. This leads to decreased efficiency, creativity, and memory. Consequently, people also feel more stressed and even depressed.
To be a quick thinker, avoid multitasking and rather focus on one task at a time. This will improve your problem-solving and allow your brain to think correctly.
2. Eat That Frog
I often see people starting their workday by reading emails or doing some other easier work. Instead of doing that, I urge you to start your day with the most challenging activities.
You have the most energy and brain power in the morning. This is the time when you can think fast. So use it for the hard things.
3. Focus On A Handful Of Tasks
Too many tasks can lead to decision fatigue. [*] Instead of using your mental power to work on hard tasks, you use it for deciding what to work on.
The best way to get about that is to write down the top 1-3 tasks that you need to complete. Sort them from the hardest to the easier one. Whenever you finish one of the tasks, you will get a spike of dopamine, which will provide the needed motivation for the next task.
Also, in such a way, you will be faster at work.
4. Make Unimportant Decisions Fast
Whenever you need to make a minor decision, do it fast. Do not spend too much time or energy on such decisions.
You are limited by the number of good decisions you can make every day. That is one of the reasons why many successful CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg wear the same clothes every day.
5. A 3-Minute Task
Sometimes we have a couple of tasks to do that require less than 3 minutes of our time. However, such tasks are often annoying, so we postpone them.
If a particular task takes less than 3-minutes of your time, do it right away. If it takes longer, then add this task to your to-do list.
6. Stay Hydrated
Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. Dehydration leads to impairment in cognitive functions, fatigue, and brain fog. [*] How to think faster if you have brain fog? You cannot, so ensure you drink enough water throughout the day.
7. Sleep Long Enough
Another way to boost your energy is by sleeping long enough. Studies show that higher cognitive capacities are degraded by sleep deprivation. [*]
The optimal sleep length for most adults is 7-9 hours. If you want your brain to think fast, ensure it has enough brain energy.
8. Regularly Exercise
I mentioned the effects of lifestyle on your thinking. Lack of physical exercise can result in poor mental health. [*] Specifically, aerobic exercise improves working memory and executive functions. [*] [*] All exercises are good for your brain as long as you rest enough.
However, the best types of exercise for brain performance are:
- HIIT training
- Weight lifting
- Coordination activities (dancing, table tennis)
- Mindful exercises (Thai-chi, Yoga)
Neuroimaging studies have started uncovering the benefits of meditation. Practicing mindfulness meditation leads to better mental health and cognitive performance. [*]
A regular meditation practice stimulates the production of new brain cells and neural connections. It also increases your brain plasticity. Meditation can decrease stress levels, which is essential for optimal brain performance.
You cannot think faster if you are stressed.
I recommend meditating for at least 10 minutes per day.
10. Work On Things You Are Good At
You will progress much faster by working on things you are good at than by improving other skills. If you are skilled at playing music, then learn new songs with a faster tempo. If you are a skilled basketball player, then learn new shots in a shorter time.
This will impact your thinking skills and have an overall impact on your life. Thinking fast is just not a result of pure training but instead of smart training.
11. Learn To Play A Musical Instrument
Playing an instrument is a multisensory and motor experience. Repeated practicing leads to stronger connections between auditory and motor regions. This may be the reason for cognitive enhancements that are seen in musicians. [*]
Studies also show that musical training improves cognitive skills, working memory, and processing speed. [*]
12. Train Your Brain
Brain training is an effective way to boost your brain function and to think faster. I suggest playing the Dual-N-Back game, which improves fluid intelligence and working memory.
Such exercise is very intense, but you can notice the benefits in 2-4 weeks.
You can also train your brain also by doing puzzles or playing chess. The more you practice, the better the results.
13. Chew A Gum
I often see biohackers chewing gum during a presentation or when they are guests on a podcast. One reason why they chew gum may be the fact that chewing can increase oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex. [*]
This can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.
14. Improve Your Gut Health
Scientists discovered that the gut is loaded with nervous tissue. As such, it communicates with your brain. If your gut lining is damaged, different pathogens can cause all kinds of problems in your gut. Among them, you can get brain fog.
You can work on your gut health by eliminating sugar, toxins, processed foods, lowering stress, and avoiding antibiotics.
15. Be Present
You need to be present whenever you want to have a fast-thinking brain. Whenever you are lost in thoughts, your response time will be much longer. And this is contra-productive.
15. Talk Slower
If you sputter, your brain has less time available to prepare the answer. Instead, it is recommended to slow down speaking and buy yourself more time. There is nothing wrong with thinking fast while you are preparing to speak.
Best Supplements For Quick Thinking
1. Bacopa Monnieri
Besides, it provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Citicoline supplements improve learning and processing speed. [*]
Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid that contributes to cognitive functioning. It is a compound important for healthy nerve cell membranes. It also supports memory formation, it helps with language and the ability to reason. Supplementing phosphatidylserine improves focus and attention. [*]
Omega-3 contains two types of fatty acids – EPA and DHA. Supplementing Omega-3 helps people with ADD and ADHD and decreases symptoms of depression.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that reduces anxiety and stress in healthy individuals. [*]
Caffeine is the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug. It is a powerful stimulant that impacts your physical and mental activity. It increases blood flow, wakefulness and enhances cognition. [*]
Taking caffeine can increase your anxiety and harm your sleep, so you need to be careful.
7. Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane mushroom is a nootropic that increases nerve growth factor, prevents neurodegeneration, and fights inflammation.
It also helps to rebuild myelin that protects nerve fibers. This speeds up communication between brain cells. [*]
8. Ginkgo Biloba
Alpha-GPC is a nootropic that delivers choline to the brain. This increases the production of acetylcholine. [*] Research shows that it improves cognitive performance and slows down cognitive decline. [*]
It is one of the best choline sources on the market.
10. Rhodiola Rosea
I suggest supplementing it with Bacopa Monnieri for stronger effects.
11. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that contributes to cognitive health during aging. [*]
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier. It plays many important roles in our body. Studies show it can help with depression but also acts as a cognitive enhancer. [*]
My Favorite Brain Supplement
Instead of buying all these nootropics, I suggest using a complex and effective brain supplement. Based on my research, the best brain supplement on the market is Mind Lab Pro. Mind Lab Pro contains many of the mentioned nootropics, it is well-dosed and a potent supplement.
Three Special Strategies For Quick Thinking
Other tools that can help you become a fast thinker.
1. Listen To Classical/Functional Music
Listening to classical music presents an inexpensive way to enhance mental abilities. [*] If you prefer functional music, then I suggest you try using Brain.FM. Brain.FM perhaps offers even more effective songs for cognition.
2. Try Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback (also called EEG Biofeedback) is a special training of your brain function. Regular practice leads to better brain performance. It is beneficial for people with anxiety, depression, behavior disorders, and sleep disorders. [*]
3. Hyperbaric Chamber
Hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a therapy that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment.
Experts found that HBOT increases brain blood flow, which leads to mental improvement. [*] HBOT alone won’t make you a faster thinker, but it is one more way to boost your mental power.
If you see no results after trying some of our strategies, you may have a brain-related problem.
To help you out, we developed a special brain assessment that helps identify different brain regions’ activity.
Based on the results, we can create an individual protocol for improving your mental performance.