The more hours we work the more work we produce, right? Not necessarily. Consider that after eight hours of uninterrupted work on the same subject, without any break, the chance to continue and have constantly the same effectiveness is rather limited.
That’s because our brains cannot stand the constant stress with a particular subject, without proper rest. Below we list 10 tips to relax your brain and renew the freshness of your mind.
A good ergonomic chair, a comfortable office and computer monitor at a proper height are important factors to be vigilant during the day. Indeed, the closer to the upright position is our body when sitting; the more easily is to stay active and ‘awake’.
One task at a time
John Medina, the author of “Brain Rules”, says that our brain cannot do many things simultaneously. End of story. What it actually does is to switch between activities. However, when we do something with regular interruptions, it usually takes us 50% more time to complete even with 50% more chances for mistakes.
Take for example those who speak on the phone while driving: The chance to be involved in a car accident is four times more than normal. The ideal is to focus on a single task at a time and finish it more quickly.
Use all your senses
Our brain gives more attention (focus) on what we do if more than one sense is involved in the particular task.
How to wake up your senses? Use coloured paper or pens in different colours. Make sure you have an air freshener in your office. Listen to music you enjoy. Give your senses, and thus your brain the appropriate stimuli to get to work with enthusiasm.
Avoid taking many decisions on the same day
According to a very interesting study published in the journal of Scientific American, our brain works in a weird way when it comes to decision making. The study explains that with a very nice example:
Suppose that you go shopping in the morning and then for lunch. After lunch you put yourself the dilemma “to eat sweet or not”. If in the afternoon you are invited to choose between two job offers, you may choose the wrong job just because you avoided the sweet!
Our will, patience and decision making obviously work in strange ways, so the best thing to do is to separate the decisions we take, or just wait until the next day to give ourselves a chance to think more rationally and calmly.
Take a very short break every twenty minutes
The vigilance and intellectual ability of the brain can be maintained longer when we take short breaks every twenty minutes, suggests a recent study published in the journal of Cognition.
In this fact lies an important secret: Our mind is not necessarily tired when we perform a certain task. Sometimes we just need to turn our attention elsewhere for a moment to give our brain the chance to “breath” and refresh its energy.
Work at your own pace
Are you more productive in the morning or afternoon? Locate your most productive time during the day and work on your most important tasks. Leave the rest of the day for the less important tasks and activities. If for example you are more productive in the morning, you can schedule your appointment with the dentist in the afternoon. Use your time efficiently and get the most out of your productive time.
Relax for ten minutes every one and a half hours
When we are awake our brain works in “cycles” of high and low readiness alternately every ninety minutes. After 90 minutes of ‘productivity’ our mind starts to struggle to concentrate and other unpleasant feelings (hunger, tiredness, bad decision making)start to surface.
A good solution is to work until the time you feel these symptoms and then take a break. Make some relaxing exercise, play with your dog, take a bath, go for walking or just get out for fresh air. Let your mind relax for a while to then get back to work with high levels of readiness.
Take a power nap
You know, one of those short naps that fill you with energy even if they last for a while. Our perception weakens continuously during the day and a short power nap can increase the performance of our memory up to 20%.
Get back to nature
Whether it’s a short walk to the nearby park or the view of the trees from a window or simply your desktop’s background, nature can relax your brain without even realizing it.
The results of a study titled “The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature” proved after scientific research that nature’s sounds, colours, smells and views can positively affect the performance of the brain.
Take a day off!
Do exactly what the title describes: Stop what you used to do for a long time and try something different on your day off which does not remind you of your office, computer or duties.
If for example you do office work, try on your next vacation to do something extreme or spend a few days away from the city and technology in a mountain. Your brain will thank you.