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How to Increase Productivity at Work:
6 Mind-Switching Hacks

Published by Nadia  |  Monday, 17 September, 2012
We’re all familiar with the feeling of overload: Creativity is blocked, concentration is long gone and the mind simply feels stuck. Often, we think that we should keep on trying hard to nail the assignment. However, incredible as it may seem, what might really help you revive your productivity in this case is… taking a break. Combining inspiration from the stories of world-famous companies with the experience of our own team, we put together a few pleasant, yet effective, work hacks to make your rest time work for you.

So take a deep breath, get a break and:

… change the environment 
Switch the scenery to reboot your mind. Once fatigue seems to be overtaking, take a walk around the building, go to the terrace or even stand outside under the sun for 5 minutes. And if you absolutely can’t get up from your chair, spend some time listening to music that would help your mind meditate and travel to a different place, for example, Roberta Shapiro’s relaxing “Calming Collection” or the diverse “Playing for Change” project’s compilation.

… occupy your hands

source: lsned.com
This is another pleasant way to get a quick mind-reboot and mobilize your brain’s hidden resources. Here’s why: Besides being efficient stress-reducers, manual activities with thingies like hand grippers, yo-yos, ball of whacks and even baby beads implement fine motor skills and therefore motivate your brain to work. Being compact, they can easily fit on your work desk and come to the rescue when you need it.




… write the problem down
A modern creative worker can hardly imagine a single hour without digital interaction. But sometimes it makes sense to visualize your problem in an alternative way. As a matter of fact, researchers say that the process handwriting inspires spontaneous ideas. After all, it’s our natural habit. So grab a pen or a pencil and phrase your questions on paper.

For example, you have trouble organizing a TV commercial shooting.  Write down all the grey areas you have at the moment, like “How to make Angelina Jolie make a guest appearance for free?” “Where to get a blue talking parrot in 5 days?” and “How on Earth to make this parrot read the script?” and then give it another brainstorm. Once you get an idea, don’t forget to enter it into Wrike to make sure it doesn’t slip out of sight!

… use a whiteboard
source: cbs.com
Think wider. If you can write it, why not do this on a whiteboard? Adepts of the agile methods in software development and project management saw the benefits of this tool long ago. Similar to the pen-and-paper trick, this can give you a different perspective of the problem. Your brainstorming process can be more visual and, therefore, this might be the source of an extra dose of efficiency. But there’s also the benefit of the collective brain that you can leverage.  With a fresh and unbiased look, your colleagues who see the same whiteboard might help you find the thing you missed for solving your problem.


… do some exercises
When the load of a task presses too heavily on your head and shoulders – another way to have a fresh start is to get moving. Surely it shouldn’t be a strenuous workout in the middle of the workday (this would drain your glucose, which is essential for brain effort). Walking the stairs to another floor, stretching your back, doing a couple of squats – that’s the kind of exercise that will cheer you up and help you to keep fit. During physical exercises, your brain will be way more captivated with producing endorphins (a.k.a. “the happiness hormones”), rather than staying painfully fixed on your work.

… go social
Chatting with your colleagues, playing office games and getting a good laugh, apparently, is practical. Some companies have already taken laughing seriously. For example, Rich Enos, CEO and co-founder of innovative learning center Study Point Inc., says that his company uses laughter and humor to build a corporate culture: "We have impromptu theme days, as well as caption contests, like the ones in the New Yorker."

You don’t need any research to know that laughter not only reduces workers’ tension and stress, but also improves general team spirit in the office. So might the office games like darts or foosball: Get away from the desk for a short while, challenge your peer in a quick game, have some fun and watch your productivity blast!

As Stephen King once said, “Change is as good as rest.” Some of the world-famous companies shared the well-known writer’s opinion on this matter and made the project-switch a part of their official policy. We have to admit, they report impressive results:

 

  • Google’s “20 percent” time policy resulted in projects like Google News and Google Reader;
  • 3M’s “15 percent” rule led the way to the creation of an innovative polymer and, according to legend, the well-known “Post-It”;
  • Gore’s “dabble time” model added up to the launching of the ELIXIR guitar strings, which now outsell competitors’ products two-to-one.

All together, we believe that productivity depends not only on a concentrated and devoted work, but also, to a certain extent, on a proper rest. We hope these entertaining, yet useful, rest hacks will help you reboot your mind, freshen up and crack even the most resistant problem easily!


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