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Research-led organization, Steelcase, has revealed a study on the workings of the brain while at work. With the help of neuroscience, the report discovered certain ways that help employees think better in workplaces. We picked up the best top 10.
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1. Let your brain wander: According to Steelcase, there’s a reason why you get your best ideas in the shower, car or while on a run! When your brain is wandering, its neurons are digesting information and forging new pathways, resulting in better thinking. If you’re facing a tough problem at work, the firm recommends taking a walk or looking out the window.
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2. Set a finish line: For your brain to be able to pay attention, it needs to know that a task has a deadline. To maximise your productivity, set deadlines for all of your tasks or meetings. “Define the finish line and help your brain best manage its resources,” says the firm.
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3. Tick things off your to-do list: When you finish things and tick them off your to-do list, you activate your reward system. Research shows that this not only motivates you, but also decreases your stress levels. “Positive achievements lead to positive feedback loops in our brain that encourage us to repeat the behaviour. Check marks seem simple but our brain loves small symbolic rewards. Make a to-do list,” Steelcase advises.
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4. Talking to yourself is good after all: Everyone knows the feeling of losing focus. One practice that helps you concentrate, research shows, is talking to yourself. This doesn’t mean you can talk about anything – you should particularly talk to yourself about clearing your mind and focusing on the task at hand.
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5. Give your brain a break: “Brains get tired. The brain’s capacity is limited, and complete focus isn’t possible for longer than 45 minutes to an hour for most people,” says Steelcase. The solution? “Set small goals, and then do your brain a favour by taking an extended break,” adds the firm.
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6. The ever-underrated sleep: This one’s a no-brainer. To think better at work, you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Most people are aware that sleep deprivation decreases our ability to focus and learn, but many of them still abandon sleep.
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7. Get closer: According to the study, attention depends on how close you are to sensory stimuli. So to create new ideas and think better at work, you have to work in spaces where people can easily hear each other, have eye contact with one another and have quick access to shared documents and materials.
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8. Don’t be static: It is official – static sitting scientifically sabotages your ability to concentrate. While working, simply move your body. Whether it’s to walk to the bathroom and wash your hands, or stretch your hands at your desk. When you move, you stimulate the production of the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which helps the brain areas vital to learning, memory and concept thinking.
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9. Be in the now: It sounds fairly simple, but most people get distracted very easily. Learn to train your brain to think in the moment. Keep it turned to the moment of here and now. “The practice has proved to show increased gamma activity in brains, indicating intensely focused thought,” according to Steelcase.
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10. Stop multitasking: You cannot consciously keep more than two things in your brain at one time. So logically, multitasking is less productive than focusing on a single task at a time. When you think you’re multitasking, you’re really just rapidly switching your attention between things. And the more you do it, the worse you become in prioritising.