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How to be more productive: 5 simple tips from a neuroscientist
How to be more productive: 5 simple tips from a neuroscientist

Training for attention, beneficial associations and brain hygiene.

How to be more productive: 5 simple tips from a neuroscientist
How to be more productive: 5 simple tips from a neuroscientist

1. Train your brain

“I love the popular comparison of the brain to muscle that can be pumped,” says cognitive neuroscientist Sahar Yousef. - It gives the feeling that you yourself are at the helm. Inspires to personally become the designer of your brain. This is possible due to neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain to change during life under the influence of various factors: our actions, experience, environment.

For example, we can train attention through meditation and exercise. And thanks to this, then direct him in the right direction and stay focused longer. Treat such workouts as going to the gym: the more you exercise, the more your brain is pumped.

2. Consider your inner rhythms

Someone is comfortable getting up at dawn and doing important things in the morning, others, on the contrary, only swing during the day, and solve the main tasks in the evening. Determine what time of day your brain functions best, and keep that in mind when planning your work.

To better understand your inner rhythms, keep a productivity journal for five working days.

Every two hours, write down how easy you worked and how you felt when energetic and when tired. After a few days, you will notice at what time your productivity rises and at what time it falls.

3. Give up multitasking

“Many of my acquaintances no longer have a working day,” says Yusef. - There are short periods of time between meetings, calls and mail parsing. 15 minutes there, 30 or 45 minutes here. And during these periods they do what they were hired for: creative, mentally intense work, valuable for the company. This happens very often.

We are constantly distracted from our main work by messages, notifications, requests and meetings.

To maintain the ability to think critically and concentrate, Yousef advises to change the strategy. Set aside some time to check messages and respond to requests, and then no longer be distracted by them.

If possible, structure your day so that you have an hour or two of concentrated work without interruption, and in between, do less important tasks. Agree with colleagues that in case of something really urgent, you can be reached by phone.

4. Create new associations

If you only manage to work properly in the morning in the kitchen or in snatches in the conference room, you seem to be telling your brain that your desk is the last place to complete work tasks. As a result, the table ceases to be associated with work, you are distracted at it.

Think about what conditions you work best in, and protect them from unnecessary associations.

“We have certain expectations about what actions and thoughts are associated with a particular place,” explains Yousef. Therefore, if you are sitting at the table and you want to distract yourself (go to social networks, look for something), get up and do it elsewhere. This is especially important for those who work remotely. Set aside an area where you only perform work tasks, and do not do them in other parts of the apartment."

5. Take care of your brain

Thinking also depends on the physical condition of the brain, so do not forget to monitor it: drink enough water, eat well, and move regularly so that blood rushes to the brain. Don't rely on coffee and sweets for a quick energy boost. Snack on something healthy during the day to avoid a dramatic drop in productivity. And be sure to get enough sleep.

“One of my principles is that without 'disconnections' you cannot be 'turned on', says Yousef. - When you are at work, concentrate and use your brain. Treat him with respect, nourish and protect him. Then deliberately give yourself time to relax and disconnect from work. Don't absorb more information, really rest and recover."