How to Trick Your Brain Into Being More Productive

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: March 6, 2017

If you find your mind wandering during the day, utilize these simple tips to regain your focus.

Staying focused and alert and keeping your brain on track can make you endlessly more productive. But sometimes willpower and self-control aren’t enough to force your brain to concentrate and follow through on the task at hand. Humans are prone to distractions, and because we’re so smart, our brains can take in all kinds of information at once. While this evolutionary trait makes us more capable of staying safe and alive, it’s not the best recipe for concentration and productivity. Here are a few tried-and-true ways you can trick your brain into being more productive that don’t take tons of effort on your part.

Stop multitasking

Some people think that managing a bunch of tasks at once is the most effective way to get things done. In fact, multitasking is one of the biggest enemies to productivity. If you’re attempting to do two or three things at once, such as checking your email, taking a call and watching the news, your mind isn’t doing its best to take in any of the information it’s being presented with. When you’re approaching a task, clear your desk of other projects and give it your full attention. You’ll wrap it up sooner and will be able to move on to the next task more quickly.

Change the lighting

Lighting can have a huge effect on your productivity. Your environment affects you while you’re working, and soft, dull lighting can make you lethargic. The best light is natural daylight, but if it’s a cloudy day or your workspace doesn’t allow for that, use blue lightbulbs. Studies show that they give you a spike in energy and keep your brain more alert.

Reward yourself for staying focused

The average office worker is distracted every three minutes. That’s a lot of temptation to resist. When you are able to engage in focused behavior, don’t forget to reward yourself. Train your brain to stay focused by rewarding the focus, rather than associating distractions with reward. Each time you catch yourself getting distracted, pull your mind back to the task and remind yourself that the reward is actually your productivity and accomplishment.

Blacklist time-wasting websites

If you find yourself going down a rabbit hole on Facebook or Twitter (and we all do), start using the SelfControl app. It’s a free Mac application that helps you stay away from distracting websites so you don’t even have the option of clicking around Facebook or wasting time reading the news. It’s a great way to block your access to websites that you choose, your email servers or anything else that has become a huge time-suck.

Take a nap

Going to sleep doesn’t sound that productive, but a well-timed nap can help snap your brain back into shape. We’re all sleep-deprived, and our brains don’t function that well when we’re tired. Studies have shown that 70 percent of Americans fall asleep on the job. Give yourself a break and take 20 minutes to doze off and recharge when you feel yourself starting to lag. You’ll return to your project with a fresh perspective and more mental alertness.

Think outside the box

Monotonous tasks make us less productive because our brains aren’t stimulated. If you need a boost in productivity, force yourself to think in new ways and see things from a different perspective. Pushing yourself to be more open-minded and broad-based in your thinking is essential to keeping your brain alert and sharp and improving your thinking skills and productivity.

Wrapping up

Lose the focus on multitasking and start being smart about how you trick your brain into accomplishing things. These tips are easy to incorporate into your workday and can help you experience enhanced productivity right away.

Image from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock

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