You Can Trick Your Brain Into Making You More Successful. Here’s How
Use these tactics to overcome distraction and enhance focus
If your fourth cup of coffee isn’t powering you to the finish line, it’s time to change rides.
These five tricks are scientifically proven to boost your focus and push productivity—and can all be done without leaving your desk.
Turn up the tunes
The right level of noise can help foster creativity and productivity, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Unlike louder or softer sounds, moderate levels at 70 decibels—like a TV in the background—is just distracting enough to help you think at a more abstract level, enhancing creativity, explains study author Ravi Mehta, Ph.D.
Organise your desk
Cleaning not only relieves stress, but it also de-clutters your brain.
When Princeton researchers looked at task performance in organised versus chaotic environments, they found that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, decreases your performance, and increases your stress.
Turn to YouTube
What do Keyboard Cat and Aziz Ansari have in common? Surprisingly, both will boost your speed and accuracy: After watching a stand-up comedy video, participants in a UK and German study completed 10 to 12 percent more math problems in a timed test than neutral video-watchers.
Researchers from Hiroshima University, meanwhile, found when prompted with “cute” photos, people were more likely to feel protective and proceed with caution, allowing them to work faster and make fewer mistakes.
Turn up the heat
A study in HVAC&R Research found that employees are most productive when the thermostat is cranked to 24 degrees celsius (most offices are set at around 21).
Colder temperatures mean less dexterity in your hands, making it physically harder to fly across the keyboard, and also encourages distraction—particularly toward activities that may generate more body heat, says study author Alan Hedge, Ph.D.
Mind your mind
Meditation can improve your concentration, but it’s also time-consuming.
Try its less-imposing cousin, mindfulness: A UC Santa Barbara study found people who practiced mindfulness had better concentration, working memory, and accuracy on tests than those with no training in the matter.
“Mindfulness is about being fully present in everything you do,” says study author Michael Mrazek.
When you eat, appreciate the flavours; when you drive, bring all your awareness to the act itself—simple efforts to be conscious become habit and help our mind let go of distraction easier when it counts, he adds.