Inside the Brainy Break & Other Productivity Hacks

When it comes to finding ways to boost productivity in the workplace, advice is almost never-ending. Whether working from experience, anecdote, or on the advice of experts, you might hear suggestions like creating time blocks, using project management software, and even figuring out what ‘type’ of worker you are.

Employees Looking at the Notepad
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After a few decades of hardboiled detective work on how to boost efficiency in the workplace (whether in an office or remote), there are a few interesting findings. In fact, some of the most effective advice sounds counterintuitive—especially when it comes to scheduling working hours and keeping the brain focused.

Keep reading for a few of the most counter-intuitive productivity hacks that will help you work efficiently in any workplace.

Taking a Game Break Resets the Brain

The concept of work hustle has led many people to forego breaks. The idea is that a break might get the mind off-track and make it harder to refocus on work topics. In reality, leaning into distractions lets you listen to your own mind—which might be hungry for a little recess.

During these work breaks, focus on something that makes you feel refreshed. This might be going for a walk, calling a friend, or even playing a game. In the case of the latter, playing a game can help keep the brain moving during downtime. For example, playing a game of blackjack online both entertains and challenges the mind. First, it lets you leave behind work concerns. At the same time, blackjack requires players to use mathematical and strategic thinking at every turn, making jumping back into work afterward a bit easier.

Listening to Music Can Get You Into the Flow

Listening to music isn’t often encouraged in the workplace. Or, if it is, the radio is usually switched to a classic music channel. In reality, music can be used to harness the mind in a variety of ways. Typically, the metric used to assign music to certain tasks is beats per minute.

The BPM of a song directly correlates to how your mind starts thinking. Faster BPMs are designed for quick-thinking and analysis, while slower and more atmospheric music is usually associated with creative goals. Regardless of what works best for you, it might be worth it to create a few playlists for working hours. These can help boost efficiency, especially when selected for morning or late afternoon sessions.

Woman in White and Black Top Using Computer
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Mono-tasking Is the New Multitasking

For a long time, efficiency was directly measured in terms of output—and the more tasks completed, the more output. However, this is a misleading idea, as many studies have found that workers complete tasks faster and with a higher degree of accuracy when they focus on one task at a time.

But what does mono-tasking look like? After all, the vast majority of employees must multi-task throughout the day. Even if multitasking helps you get the job done faster, we recommend looking into bunching tasks together. That way, you can complete tasks and work on things that are closely related, moving through your workday intuitively.

Keep All Work Productivity Apps at Work

Above, we mentioned productivity software as a common suggestion to boost efficiency. However, there’s another set of advice that lays out why removing productivity apps can improve productivity. The idea is simple: create a strong work-life balance and avoid all usage of productivity apps when off the clock.

This helps keep the mind uncluttered. Essentially, when workers who are responsible for multitasking day after day don’t take time off work, they’re at risk of burnout. But when personal life and work are diligently separated, it makes work time more meaningful, which can make completing any project easier.

Neuroscience Says Plants & Light Are Your Friend

Lastly, let’s cover why plants and natural light can improve your efficiency at work. The magic here comes down to neuroscience. Scientific studies have proven that our brains release hormones like endorphins and serotonin when surrounded by indoor plants and seated in an area that receives plenty of natural light. By working with the brain and treating it to experiences that help it function, you can tap into its superpowers—boosted productivity included.