These are a few logically Mental Acuity for keeping up with smartness since three cups of espresso daily is the standard for the commonplace American. On the off chance that you’re like me, your mind requires a shock of energy first thing (and again in the early evening).
A cup of tea might be more your speed. No matter your situation, a caffeine boost can keep you alert, and some research has even linked coffee consumption to positive health outcomes.
If you want to be more productive at work, there are more effective ways to maintain mental clarity than drinking four cups of your favorite beverage. You can be more efficient and effective in your work and in your personal life by adopting long-term strategies for a more focused, alert brain.
Is it difficult for you to know where to start? Here are seven strategies proven by science to help you turn on you’re “on” switch at work and maintain your focus and energy throughout the day.
1. Let Your Thoughts Wander
Maintaining concentration is critical to finishing tasks successfully. The question then becomes why you would let your mind wander. It may seem counterproductive to allow yourself to get sidetracked every once in a while, but doing so can actually increase your level of alertness and, in turn, your productivity.
Although mental effort is required for every endeavor, intense focus demands a great deal of mental capacity. By forcing yourself to ignore all distractions and stay on task, you can increase your productivity.
The result could be mental fatigue and a decrease in concentration and output. There is a caveat to consider before deciding what to cook for dinner tonight. Researchers in the field of psychology have found that while deliberate daydreaming can help one remain alert, unintentional daydreaming can have the opposite effect.
Consequently, a restless mind is most useful when deployed as a tactical asset. If, for some reason, you just can’t seem to keep your mind on one thing, try switching gears and working on something else that requires you to think critically and solve problems. You’ll not only be able to look at the current project with new eyes, but you’ll also be able to clear some mental space by finishing something else.
2. Take a Rest
When I’m deep in my work, I have a hard time recognizing when I need a break. (Just ask my wife, who often uses the promise of a tasty meal to lure me away from my computer.) However, working for extended periods without breaks isn’t always as fruitful as it may seem at first.
Taking a mental break can help you maintain peak mental performance. That doesn’t give you carte blanche to skip out on the office whenever the mood strikes you, though. This means that taking breaks at the right times and in the right ways can have a significant impact on one’s ability to stay alert and focused.
Researchers have found that our levels of alertness fluctuate and that most people need a 15-minute break after focusing for 90 minutes straight. The scientific community is in agreement that the best way to get back into the zone after a break is to do something completely different.
Do a puzzle, go for a walk, or talk to a friend on the phone instead of switching gears to another work task or mindlessly checking your inbox.
3. Mental Exercises
Good news: your brain can be reshaped to fit new needs. Focus and alertness aren’t something that just “come naturally,” so if you lack them, you can learn to cultivate them.
One strategy for doing this is to engage in activities that improve one’s cognitive abilities (in this case, by playing games that demand strategic thinking). A 2015 study found that adults who engaged in brain-training activities like crossword puzzles for 15 minutes per day, five days per week saw improvements in their ability to focus.
Mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that can help train your brain to concentrate]. A 2011 review concluded that practicing mindfulness can enhance concentration, awareness, and recall, in addition to its many other confirmed health benefits. It’s okay to take baby steps if sneaking out of the house with a yoga mat to meditate isn’t in the cards for you.
At my desk, I like to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths to help me center myself and concentrate. You could also use your five senses (smell, touch, sight, hearing, etc.) to simply observe your immediate environment. These miniature meditations on the present moment will help you maintain mental acuity and concentration when it really counts.
Because of the close relationship between your brain and body, the actions you take physically can have a significant impact on your emotional state. Regular exercise, such as going for a brisk walk or practicing yoga a few times a week, can help you maintain your mental acuity and focus at work quickly and easily.
There is a strong empirical link between regular exercise and improved cognitive performance, and studies confirm this finding with participants who were physically fit. In a separate study, those who exercised for more than 75 minutes per week exhibited enhanced concentration and focus.
However, these aren’t the only ways in which physical activity boosts cognitive performance. Endorphins are released during exercise, and this improvement in impulse control can help you ignore interruptions. Keeping active also increases your physical energy, which will help you avoid dozing off at your desk.
5. Remove Clutter from Your Work Area
When I’m having trouble focusing at work, one of the first things I do is take a look around me. My desk and office are usually in a disorganized state because my mind is in a disorganized state.
Scientific studies have shown that decluttering your environment can have a significant effect on your mental performance. Having too much clutter around you can be a distraction, which can reduce your brain’s ability to focus and process information, according to one group of researchers.
If you’re having trouble concentrating, take a moment to assess your immediate setting. You need not go through a complete office makeover, so relax. As an alternative, you should help your mind stay on task by clearing away any distractions. Ten minutes of tidying up could have a surprising amount of effect.
6. Get Better Rest
Even if you drink multiple cups of coffee, your alertness will be completely undone by a poor night’s sleep. A lack of sleep, even for one night, has been shown to negatively impact self-control and focus. While leaving early to get some shut-eye may not feel productive, it will ultimately benefit your brain and your productivity.
Don’t forget that a rested body means a rested mind. If you want to maintain your productivity, avoid working excessive hours that cut into your downtime. If you can’t get in a full eight hours at night, splitting your sleep between the morning and afternoon can help. According to research, taking a short “power nap” can increase alertness and productivity.
7. Take Your Time
All of us, including myself, are guilty of rushing through our mountainous workloads. But if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, it’s not a good idea to try to get everything done as quickly as possible.
Be as methodical and slow as possible while getting everything done. By avoiding distractions, you can maintain your concentration and avoid wasting time fixing mistakes. The rationale for slowing down has scientific roots in the brain’s most fundamental processes.
There is a fast, automatic part of our brains, and there is a slower, more logical part of our brains as well. One’s anxiety level is likely to rise in tandem with the faster option.
To be sure, that is not always a bad thing. However, while running away quickly from a sabre tooth tiger is an adaptive response, it can impair one’s ability to think clearly.
Instead, by deliberately slowing down, you can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and switch on your rational brain, thereby reducing anxiety and improving your mental clarity.
If you slow down your thoughts and actions on purpose, you’ll find that you’re not only more in the moment but also better able to generate novel solutions to problems.