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8 Weird, Science-Backed Ways To Improve Your Focus And Productivity

8 Weird, Science-Backed Ways To Improve Your Focus And Productivity

So you’ve found yourself slacking off at work or school and are wondering what you can do to improve your focus or productivity. You’ve heard all of the old methods: drinking coffee, exercising, getting a good night’s rest, etc. While those simple tips may work for most, they simply do not work for some. Here are 8 science backed ways to increase your productivity that you’ve probably never even thought about trying.

1. Listen to Video Game Music

Video game music is designed to keep you focused on completing a task while being a minimum distraction. If you think about it, how many times can you recall losing focus while trying to complete a level in Mario? There are many types of gaming soundtracks available for free, you just have to choose the right one. You can read this article on video game music and its impact on focus to learn more.

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2. Hit the Gym After Studying

While working out might be the last thing on your brain while studying for a studies have shown that those that do can recall information better the next day. According to the study even light exercise may help with retention.

3. Dress to Impress

Sure it may seem only natural to want to study in a sweater and sweat pants. However, studies have shown that those who dress up have less problems paying attention. According to the study students that wore white lab coats while doing tests made about half the errors as those who were wearing regular clothes. Will the white coat method work for you? It could be worth a try.

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 4. Work in Natural Light

While we all can’t have an office with windows, you should always make it a point to get some fresh air and sunlight during the day. According to a recent study :

“Compared to the afternoon, people who had DL (Daylight) were significantly more alert at the beginning of the evening, and subjects who were exposed to AL (Artificial light) were significantly sleepier at the end of the evening.”

So if you’re having trouble staying awake or focused, just take a quick trip outside. Chances are it will help you wake up significantly.

5. Crank Up the Heat

We all hate being too hot, however, chances are that if the office is frigid you’re not being as productive as you can. What is the science behind this? To put it simply, your body uses more energy to keep warm when it’s cold in the office. That means there is less energy left for focus and concentration. According to this study workers made nearly 44% more errors and were half as productive when the temperature were set at 68F as opposed to those working in 77F conditions.

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6. Go Green

If you’re having trouble focusing in your office or cubicle try bringing a little greenery into your life. Studies have shown that offices with greenery are 15% more productive than undecorated offices. Not only does it improve productivity but the study also concluded it improved morale and the overall perception of air quality in the office.

7. Look at Cute Animals

A study in Japan has concluded that looking at simple pictures of cute animals can improve productivity. The study tested individuals and their performance after looking at pictures of cute baby or adult animals. They concluded there was an increase in performance in those test subjects after viewing the pictures. According to the study:

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“the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.”

8. Make. Everything. Yellow.

Well, not everything of course. But studies have shown that the color yellow increases concentration and alertness. Why? Because it is the color most associated with happiness. Just a simple poster or photo of some yellow flowers may be enough to boost your concentration and focus throughout the day.

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Colby Almond

Professional

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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