Science presents us with the concept of neuroplasticity. In a nutshell, this is the ability of the brain to adapt and change based on its surroundings and what is needed. This is also one way that the brain compensates if you are lacking in some areas. For example, if you are not much of a mathematician, your brain may compensate by being more receptive to linguistic concepts. Fortunately, you can train your brain to undergo that “change”. In fact, you can even train your brain to help improve your productivity levels. Think of your brain as a muscle. It needs exercise on a regular basis. In the same way, you need to constantly stimulate your brain to boost productivity.
Below are some ways to improve productivity:
Consider this as a way for your body to recover from all the stress that it experienced throughout the day. Getting a high-quality good night’s rest is crucial for cell regeneration. This helps remove toxins that may have accumulated during the day. For best results, go to bed at around 9 or 10 in the evening. Make sure to have at least 6 to 8 hours’ worth of sleep for proper replenishment. Anything above or below this value is considered non-beneficial.
This is important because your brain gets nutrients mostly from the food you eat. You might as well feed it with good stuff, then! Some good brain food items to choose from include the following:
- Nuts: Increases supply of omega-3 fatty acid that’s good for brain health.
- Salmon and other types of oily fish: Additional omega-3 fatty acid.
- Banana: More vitamin C and B6 in your diet.
- Avocado: Abundant supply of healthy fats.
- Blueberries: Improves memory.
- Whole wheat grains: Helps to better utilize energy sources of the brain.
- Eggs: Brain and memory development.
- Tomatoes: Improves brain development and decreases inflammation.
- Pumpkin seeds: Better memory.
- Blackcurrants: Reverses manifestations of aging such as rapid memory loss.
- Sage: Enhances memory and concentration.
- Broccoli: Improves cognitive functions such as attention span, concentration, and memory.
On the other hand, avoid eating the following to maximize your brainpower:
- Soda: Hampers learning and memory.
- Canned fish: Negatively affects mood and thinking.
- Ribeye steak: Increases the risk for dementia.
- Frozen pies and pizza: Decreases concentration and attention span.
- Soy sauce: May lead to dementia and brain artery damage when consumed in excess.
- Ice cream: May cause impaired cognition and increased risk of dementia when eaten too much.
- Cured meat: May cause mood swings.
- White rice: Causes weakness and fatigue when consumed excessively.
- French fries: May cause brain-related problems such as stroke.
- Alcoholic drinks: Impairs concentration and focus.
Exercise at least 3-5 times a week. This helps improve your brain function by enhancing the rate of oxygen that gets to your brain. In effect, this helps improve the functions of your nervous system because you essentially provide it with more fuel. This also pumps up more feel-good hormones in your system. These hormones, known as endorphins, help uplift your mood. As a result, you get to focus more on what you do, thus improving your productivity levels.
There are various exercises you can do to stimulate brain function. Some of these include jogging, dancing, biking, weight lifting, and swimming. Even brisk walking can be considered a good exercise. Just make sure that the activity is slightly more difficult than the usual level of activities you perform.
Make sure to include a 5-minute warm-up before the exercise and a 5-minute cool down after to prevent or minimize muscle soreness. Also, perform the exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes to raise your heart rate to the ideal level.
Studies show that children who frequently listen to piano-accompanied music are a lot better in activities that require focus and increased concentration, such as solving puzzles. Here’s a suggested post on a productivity playlist that can help you focus. In another study, children who were exposed to classical music before taking IQ tests garnered higher scores than children who were required to listen to relaxation music and children who took the exam in complete silence.
Writing is considered a way to tell your brain what is important. It helps with recall and clarifies thoughts. This also helps hone your creativity and your analytical skills. Before working on any tasks for the day, make it a point to write 500 words a day.
The rule is simple: Write down any random thought until you reach the 500-word mark. The goal is to warm up your brain for more activities throughout the day. The composition does not have to be free from grammatical errors. It also doesn’t have to make much sense to anyone because you’re the only one who will have access to it.
For quite a number of people, hobbies are referred to as relaxing activities. In the context of boosting productivity, this is considered a form of active rest. Studies show that people with hobbies that are unrelated to their line of work are more successful and productive in the workplace. In fact, those who engage more in these activities perform better than those who do not have at least one hobby.
There is a wide array of hobbies to choose from if you still do not have one. You may consider photography, carpentry, baking, sewing, and knitting. Hobbies should be fun. You may even want to share your finished products in the workplace to add to the beneficial aspects of having a hobby. Who knows, you may discover shared interests to help build bonds with colleagues.
In the end…
You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to help improve your productivity with a hobby. All you need is some dedicated time to train your brain daily with your chosen activity, and, by doing any of these regularly, you will start to see some results in a couple of weeks or months.