The number of hours we work without interruption is inversely related to how much we accomplish. It’s called brain-fatigue, but there are simple things you can do to maintain your focus, and keep your brain on the job throughout the work day:
Your brain cannot multitask, period. What it does do is switch back and forth between tasks very quickly. Someone whose attention is interrupted not only takes 50% longer to carry out a task but also makes up to 50% more errors. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll complete each more accurately and faster.
Use all your senses
Work is more entertaining for your brain – and therefore makes you more alert – when you engage as many of your senses as possible. Use colored paper and pens. Experiment with aromatherapy. Try playing background music.
Take a quick break every 20 minutes
You will be able to keep up your focus longer when you give your brain something else to think about every 20 minutes. This trick is called momentary deactivation. By focusing on something else you help your brain refresh the specific neural network you’ve used. But make sure it’s a real break, switching your browser over to facebook when you have been sitting in front of the computer all morning just won’t give your brain the refresh it needs. Get up, step outside., take a quick walk, stretch, meditate.
Take a power nap
Researchers have found our ability to learn declines as the day wears on. But an afternoon power nap increases scores on memory tests by 20%. Just what is a power nap? A power nap is a short nap that ends before you enter deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, intended to quickly revitalize the napper. Fo most people, this is about 10-15 minutes. But be careful not to nap longer because it will have the opposite effect!
What other tips can you recommend to keep your brain alert, focused, and productive?