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July 7, 2014 | Productivity | Posted by Adam Bobay Adam Bobay

To Get More Done at Work, Treat Yo Self

Looking for simple ways to get more done at work? We’ve got you covered with a few simple steps to get you from staff to team lead in no time.

1) Take breaks on the regular.

Research by Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada shows taking breaks maximizes focus and concentration. This doesn’t mean you need to get up and walk around the block (though that can be very beneficial as well). However if you’ve been doing the same thing for a long period of time, take a break for another activity. Try getting up from your desk every 45 mins to turn off for 5 minutes before getting back to it.

You can also try the Pomodoro Technique, which involves setting a timer to ring every 25 minutes. At the end of each ding, take a 3-5 minute break. After four pomodori (breaks) take a 15-20 minute break and then start over again.


2) Exercise = Good Mental Health = Good Work Health.

Exercise is not only important for physical health but significant to overall mental health as well. And who doesn’t need good mental health to get loads of work done?

Exercising releases endorphins in the brain, which leads to higher levels of happiness, energy, and alertness. And it doesn’t take 5 trips to the gym a week to see a noticeable difference. Any increase in exercise, no matter the amount, releases endorphins.

Doing something as little as taking the stairs burns 33% more calories than walking on flat ground due to the change in elevation. By forcing muscles to work harder against gravity, more oxygen is required. This need causes your heart rate to elevate slightly to accommodate and even remains elevated after completion of the exercise.

3) Fill Your Brain Tank with Premium Octane Food.

Our brains require a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals in order to function. An imbalance causes significant changes in the neurochemistry of our brains. A high volume of saturated fats (associated with high cholesterol) and refined sugars (sucrose and fructose) cause significant reduction in cognitive performance and impairs memory.

Fortunately, this neurochemical imbalance can be reversed by increasing the intake of different foods. Blueberries, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and broccoli are all good vegetables to improve cognitive performance. Fish has high levels of essential fats that cannot be produced by the body, yet necessary for performance. And whole grains are a low glycemic-index food that give you the carbohydrates your brain needs to operate.

Want some more foods to eat in order to boost brain power? Check out this list.


4) Sleep Early & Get Up Early.

During sleep, the brain processes memories six to seven times faster than when awake according to a study by the University of Arizona. (This allows your brain to go through an entire 8 hour work day worth of events in a little more than 1 hour!) Because you can only recall experiences for which your brain has already processed, your hippocampus ‘tags’ new information to past connections made. When you fall asleep, these tags are accessed to form new connections. This was seen for the first time by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center. They showed a growth of cells connecting parts of the brain during sleep.

It takes time for your brain to transition itself from the internal stimulation of sleeping, to the external stimulation of sensory input. When you are asleep, your brain waves are at the lowest frequency, known as gamma (deep sleep) or theta waves (light sleep). As your alarm sounds, you need time to transition into Alpha and then Beta state.

By getting to bed around 9:00 or 10:00pm, you can get 6-8 hours of sleep and start around 5:00 or 6:00am. This gives you 2-3 hours to fully transition your brain to being awake and alert before you need to take on the workday.


Written by

Adam Bobay

Adam Bobay

Adam is a marketing intern at Sqrl. He's a curiosity enthusiast and never turns down a challenge. He also enjoys tinkering with DIY projects, all things video and photography, and the occasional daily donut.