Studies show that people have a limited amount of mental energy to spend each day. Once that resource is depleted your decision-making and productivity decline rapidly. This is why you should tackle your most important projects first when your mind is fresh—regardless of how time-consuming those projects may seem. By the end of the day, your mental energy is decreasing, and it will be harder to focus and critically think.
Forcing yourself to be productive is tough, but it's not just willpower and self-control that help you to get things done. You can also pull little tricks on your brain to make it work harder, like adjusting the temperature or looking at cute pictures of animals. Here are a few scientifically-backed ways to boost your productivity without even trying.
Here are 8 brain-boosting techniques to be more productive during the week:
1. Get plenty of sleep
Your brain needs to shut down so it can reset, allowing you to wake up refreshed and energized. Unfortunately, many people are sabotaging their sleep by bringing phones, tablets or computers to bed. A research shows that looking at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. As a result, people find it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Try to put down the phone and head to bed at a reasonable hour. Your brain will thank you.
The easiest meditation, which you can start right now, involves merely shutting your eyes and paying close attention to your breathing. As the mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. Just five to ten minutes of this meditation can help you relax, clear your mind, and leave you more prepared for any mental activity. This can be really crucial during a particularly hard day of work, or if you're having trouble relaxing during your days off.
3. Take A Power Nap – At The Right Time
Short periods of sleep are associated with a number of benefits. One such benefit is a boost to productivity. There are some caveats to this benefit that must be considered. First, experts note that a 10 to 20 minutes nap is the “sweet spot” for providing a boost in alertness and energy. This time window limits the brain to lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which makes it much easier to get back on your feet and into work mode. Second, researchers have discovered that power napping between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 PM may enhance the above mentioned benefits.
4. Stop Multitasking
What you’re really doing is task switching, and the brain simply isn’t good at it. Studies show that multitasking compromises working memory, and the mental blocks created by task switching can eat up as much as 40% of your productivity.
5. Think Positive
Stress & anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress & anxiety. Try and get a handle on negative thoughts and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.
6. Play Unfamiliar Music While You're Working
The direct effect of listening to music to boost productivity is still inconclusive, but we do know that music can increase your mood by releasing dopamine. To anyone who has cranked up their favorite song to power through a day of monotonous work, this sounds like common sense, but it's possible that listening to unfamiliar music is actually better for focus.
The release of endorphins caused by laughter will reduce stress levels--that's great for long-range brain health. Also, laughter usually leaves you more open to brand new thoughts and ideas.
Aside from the obvious physical health benefits, exercise is a key part of mental health, as well. It helps reduce stress and anxiety. It also improves memory and critical-thinking skills. Exercise stimulates the release of chemicals in the brain called growth factors, which enable the growth of new brain cells and blood vessels. When you exercise, it increases blood flow that brings glucose and oxygen to your brain—two elements that are needed to boost brain energy. That means when you work out, you are benefiting your brain just as much as the rest of your body.
The ability to be productive is necessary for all of us. The fact is that our brain is the key to establishing and sustaining productivity. While our brain resources are finite, boosting and the efficient use of these resources will allow anyone to remain productive throughout the day. In this post, I shared with you the 8 brain-boosting techniques to be more productive during the week.
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