Do you ever feel overwhelmed at work, like you don’t know why you’re there because you just can’t seem to accomplish anything? You’ve tried every trick in the book, you’ve scoured the web for tips on getting more organized, but the idea of becoming more productive just makes you dizzy.
Well we’ve compiled a few fresh ideas that’ll trick your brain into being better, faster, stronger with little to no effort!
1. Think Positive. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the more positively you think about yourself and your work, the more productive and accomplished you’ll actually become! Never underestimate the power of self-validation. The more you believe that what you’re doing makes an impact, the faster it will manifest into truth. If you think of yourself as unproductive, you will become unproductive.
2. Eat Smart…foods! You are what you eat: eat junk, work like junk. Eat strong, work like a beast! Foods that have high levels of caffeine and processed sugar are terrible for brain activity. That grande latte with an extra shot of espresso or that canned energy drink might give you a jolt of energy and make you feel like you’re awake and getting a lot done, but in reality, you’re just experiencing an overwhelming rush of adrenaline and that always wears off. Instead, try boosting your brain cells with magnesium and fiber packed foods like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts, blueberries, fish, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, avocado and chocolate…oh, yes we did! Just make sure it’s at least 70% dark chocolate or even a handful of cocoa nibs mixed in with some Greek yogurt or sugar-free oatmeal.
3. Get Smelly. Aromatherapy has been used for centuries for several purposes. The olfactory bulbs are little nuggets of nerves connected to the parts of the brain that control processing learning, memory and emotions. The best scents for boosting productivity are lemon and other citrus fruits as well as cinnamon. Lavender, peppermint and rosemary are all very calming, which can help you relax and focus on work, but you risk your workspace smelling like Grandmother’s cottage. You can boost the effect by drinking hot tea with lemon or keeping lemon and orange infused water in a bottle on your desk.
4. Pump It! Get the blood flowing and oxygen circulating by working out while you work. Check out some of our previous posts on getting a little exercise at work for some ideas. In general, just walking around while making your phone calls, or hand-delivering your memos instead of texting them gets your heart rate up and your brain functioning at top performance!
5. Do Puzzles. Exercise your brain, too, by keeping some puzzles at hand. Crosswords, a Rubik’s cube, Sudoku, and other brain teasers are a great way to take a mental break from work, but exercise cognition and problem solving skills.
6. Be a Dictator…to your computer. Programs and software like Dragon are great. Load them onto your computer and you can just verbalize any file you’re searching for, rather than doing it manually and working longer on one thing. Plus, by vocalizing tasks, you are able to focus more intensely on them rather than getting derailed by another train of thought. The riptide of the stream of consciousness is a hazard that no lifeguard can save you from!…wait…what were we just saying…?
7. Last but not least, take a nap! You hated naps as a kid, you abused them throughout college, and now you secretly plan to bring your blanket and pillow for a secret cat nap under your desk every day. Well don’t feel bad. A shocking number of Americans are coming to work sleep-deprived, which makes them sloppy and slow about their work. Falling asleep at your desk is considered humiliating and lazy. However, in countries like Japan, if an employee falls asleep at their desk for a few minutes, they are considered to be dedicated workers and are left alone! A short 20 minute snooze can reset your break, enhance awareness and creativity, and of course, boost your mood! Have a tricky problem to solve at work? Sleep on it! Take a few minutes to close your eyes and the answer will be clear once you’re ready to work again. Several modern companies have facilities on site where employees are encouraged to nap, but that’s not in everyone’s budget. During your lunch break, go out to your car or a seat outside and just relax for a bit and see what a difference it makes!
Well, there you have it. Put a few of these life hacks in place and try to measure just how much more productive your life becomes over the next week of two. We’re confident that any number of these will add up to a much happier, healthier, and more productive you!
Conditions like PTSD, blindness, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia are incurable. Or are they? Ed Boyden, an MIT Media Lab lead in the realm of neuro-science, has found a way to combine brain surgery and light to not only treat but also reverse the effects of damage to brain cells! Boyden has proposed and practiced methods of introducing light-sensitive proteins into neurons to improve their function. His incredible work sheds light on what may be a medical miracle! So plug in your headphones or let this innovation blast through your office!
The graduation season is bearing down. Soon, the job boards will burst to life with eager graduates with all of the skills, and next to none of the experience. Competition for working in big name companies is steep because who wouldn’t want to be aligned with a group that comes with stocks, a cushy paycheck, and prestige? The reality is, there are so many reasons to seek employment with startup groups instead!
1. You’ll have more opportunities and responsibility. While a smaller startup company won’t have the budget to pay you as well as a long-established firm, what you’ll get back in experience will be worth gold in the long run. On a smaller team, everyone has to wear several hats and perform all sorts of necessary tasks to keep costs down and make sure everyone is pulling their weight. As time goes by, you will perform fewer tasks, but be held accountable for excelling at the ones you still do.
2. That said, your successes (and shortcomings) will be amplified. With fewer people in your workplace, everyone just knows everyone else’s business. That’s what happens and there’s no avoiding it. In a larger corporation, a mistake is easily overlooked or credit can be passed down or snatched up at a given moment. In a smaller group, when you succeed, you will be lavished with praise and recognition. However, that also means that if an error comes back to you, you WILL be held accountable. On the other side of that same coin, that means that you will be more motivated to pay attention to small details and making sure the job gets done right the first time. You won’t dare grown complacent and will actually learn to work harder and hold yourself to a higher standard.
3. You’ll learn from and be mentored by real pioneers and innovators! The person who started the company did so because they have a vision and a drive. Imagine picking their brain! They are natural leaders, problem solvers, they think in the abstract and aren’t afraid to take risks! Can you imagine just being in the presence of that sort of greatness every day? And eventually, some of that greatness may rub off on you.
4. You’ll learn valuable financial tips and tricks. When you have to tighten your belt and cut back on personal expenses (that $50 a month gym membership can wait), you become more responsible with your finances. Special occasions where you actually go out on the town or treat yourself feel even better. You’ll learn to recognize the monetary but also intrinsic value of hard work because every day, you’ll see your efforts reflect in your bank account. It’ll be slow at first, but you’ll have some insight into what true pride of ownership feels like. You’ll appreciate others who are self-sustainable like you and you’ll forge better relationships from that.
5. You’ll be a part of a dynamic atmosphere. Startup companies feel like small, professional families. You will grow incredibly close to the people you work with because you are all driven by one common goal and one common vision: to see the mission of the company come to life. And to do that together feels incredibly empowering! In this kind of a work culture, you never have to struggle with bureaucracy, red tape, or the feeling that someone is constantly looking over your shoulder.
6. Your strengths will be valued in a way they might not be in a big company. The skills and talents that only YOU can contribute will be put to the test, practiced, improved and valued for their impact.
Later down the line, sure your pay might increase, and you’ll soon be managing others instead of being managed. But we have to talk before we fly. Getting in on the ground floor of a startup company is the way of the future!