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12 Ways to Prevent Your Mood From Killing Your Productivity At Work

12 Ways to Prevent Your Mood From Killing Your Productivity At Work

Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely nothing goes right? Or when you open your mouth to speak and the most inappropriate words come out? Everyone has days like this. Emotions have a way of infiltrating your entire being and hindering your performance. These 12 tips provide both immediate and preventative methods to prevent your mood from killing your productivity at work.

1. Learn to compartmentalize.

Take whatever things AND feelings that are buzzing in your head and box them up. Literally envision taking each of them and putting them into a little box and sticking them on a shelf. This empties your mind so that you can focus on your productivity at work.

2. Eliminate all distractions

Turn off your television and/or radio. Shut down your email and other social media applications. Turn your phone on vibrate. Put a ‘do not disturb’ sign at your front door or office door. Close your office door. Ask your co-workers to help you not be distracted so you can concentrate.

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3. Get “in the zone”.

In general, it takes about 15 minutes to obtain this state of mind. After that, you’re very focused and not easily distracted.  This is when you are most productive. Use methods #1 & #2 to attain this state of mind.

4. Set up systems.

Have a system, a step-by-step action or a manual for every single process or duty that you perform regularly. When you have a system already in place, for moments when you’re preoccupied by a bad mood, you simply follow the steps and remain productive. In addition, because the process is laid out, it doesn’t take heavy concentration.

5. Overcome all mental blocks.

In a nutshell, mental blocks are ideas or beliefs based on past experiences. They sometimes inhibit your ability to perform at optimum levels. When you’re in a particularly foul mood, these mental blocks can be magnified and crush your productivity. There are two ways to combat mental blocks. The first one is to try compartmentalization. If that doesn’t work, have a system or a step-by-step plan of action. This way, by simply following a previously planned routine, you’re able to supersede those mental blocks and stay on task. This is especially advantageous for those ‘bad days’ when nothing seems to go right.

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6. Breathe

Don’t forget how soothing and immediate slow, deep breaths can be. Slow, deep breaths promote calmer and more qualitative actions.

7. Listen to soothing music or sounds.

Music that touches your soul, or sounds, such as the ocean, the rain or a simple beating heart can bring a powerful sense of peace and harmony.

8. Stretch your muscles.

Nothing feels more soothing than simply taking a few minutes to stretch the muscles and get the blood circulation all throughout your body. Stretching also refreshes your mind so that you’re able to stay focused. Yoga is a phenomenon right now because its techniques promote emptying the mind, relaxation and meditative breathing. This promotes a productive state of mind.

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9. Exercise.

It is a proven fact that exercise produces stress-relieving endorphins. Regardless of whether you work out at the beginning, in the middle of, or the end of the day, you still receive that adrenaline rush of endorphins that constitutes that feeling of well being. This rush is an excellent mood enhancer, and also compliments productivity.

10. Laugh a little, live a little.

Thy physical manifestations of a bad mood include sweaty palms, increased breathing and heart rate, stiff neck, headache, etc. These symptoms slow your productivity rate. Laughing slows, and perhaps even eliminates, these physical symptoms.

11. Massage for relaxation and to empty the mind.

Have you ever intensely worked on something for a long period of time and then subconsciously reached up to massage the back of your neck? Massage decreases anxiety and pressure and revives both the body and the mind providing more clarity and focus. Because it benefits both the mind and the body, it promotes a feeling of well-being, thus improving a bad mood.

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12. Positive thinking ALL the time.

Everything begins and ends with the mind-heart connection. Programming your mind to have positive core beliefs is paramount. When you think happy, productive thoughts, you’re more likely to produce happy, productive actions.

Everyone suffers from a bad mood once in a while. Incorporate these tips into your day and you will find that they will prevent you from killing your productivity at work.

Featured photo credit: Martin Applegate via dreamstime.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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