How to rewire your brain to be more productive
Feel like you could be more productive with your day? Parinaz Samimi has some easy tips.
Ever wished you could be more productive? Most of us have a lot on our plates these days, whether it’s work, school, family, or social obligations. It can feel like there’s just not enough time in the day.
Fortunately, you can make better use of the time you do have by becoming more productive. Keep in mind that these aren’t just hopeful suggestions—these are tested methods that can rewire your brain to help you achieve the productivity you want. Here’s how.
Over a quarter of Americans haven’t read a single book in the past year, and it turns out they’re missing out on plenty of productivity-boosting benefits. In fact, there’s evidence that reading can help to relieve stress, develop deeper focus, and enhance creativity—all of which can help you be more productive.
Keep in mind that some benefits of reading, such as deepening your focus, apply only to physical books. Sorry, ebook fans.
Think about it: when you’re positive, you see problems as solvable, you work better with others, and you don’t get easily stressed.
If you’re ready to read your way to productivity, it’s easy to get started. Grab a book off your shelf and start reading tonight, or visit your local library for a free source of nearly infinite books. If you're not sure what to read, try choosing books from curated lists, such as these 25 books to read before you die (mostly fiction), or the 100 greatest nonfiction books.
Not only will you become more productive, but you’ll get an extra dose of culture as well.
Get more sleep
Don’t stay up too late reading, though. Some 40% of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, though a good night’s rest is vital to your productivity. Sleep enables you to focus, improves your decision-making, helps your memory, and reduces mistakes. Not sure if you’re part of the 40%? Try tracking your sleep.
Once you get an honest look at how well (or poorly) you’re sleeping, you can address problems keeping you up at night.
For example, if you just need an extra nudge to remind you to go to bed, set a bedtime alarm on your phone. If you’re having trouble staying asleep, you might need to replace your older mattress to ensure you’re supported and comfortable through the night.
Do what it takes to sleep better, and you’ll be rewarded with more productivity during your waking hours.
To continue boosting your productivity, practise mindfulness throughout those waking hours. Maintaining awareness of your thoughts might seem opposed to productivity, but mindfulness has been shown to help with decision making, prioritising, resilience, and focus. These benefits will naturally come as you incorporate mindfulness into your work processes.
While developing a mindful mindset may sound like a daunting challenge, you can start practising today. Begin your basic mindfulness practice by setting aside a few minutes to meditate. Focus on your breathing and observing your thoughts for these few minutes.
If you want more guidance, try one of the many mindfulness apps on the market. With a little practice, you’ll be able to increase your mindfulness, and your productivity will benefit, too.
As you develop all of these habits, remember to stay positive. Positivity doesn’t just make us happy - it’s been shown to affect productivity, too. Think about it: when you’re positive, you see problems as solvable, you work better with others, and you don’t get easily stressed. It’s no wonder that workplaces that cultivate a positive culture have a more productive culture, too.
Studies have shown that simple practices can help you develop positive thinking, such as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day, thanking people around you, or doing kind things for others. If you need help committing to positivity, as with everything else, there’s an app for that.
With daily positivity practice, your attitude will improve along with your productivity.
You can enjoy more productivity as you cultivate these habits, and you can begin right now. It’s okay to start small, whether that’s picking up a book or setting aside a few minutes for meditation. Simply decide which of these proven habits will work best for you and your lifestyle.
As you see your productivity increase, add others. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.
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