The procrastinator’s panacea: just one piece of productivity advice

Healthy lifestyle

The procrastinator’s panacea: just one piece of productivity advice

20 September 2017


Many books have been written about productivity. And if you have read at least a couple of them, then you already know about the “Pomodoro” method, splitting large tasks into small ones, planning and single-tasking. But there is one scientifically proven way to help your brain handle stress without distractions. This is a sport.

In Fire Yourself, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School John Ratie explains why physical activity is so important to our senses and thinking.

The brain and body interact with each other

Physical activity allows us to cope with problems and help our brain function smoothly and efficiently. If in the morning we devote half an hour to exercises, then in the afternoon we are able to concentrate on work and better remember information. Those who went to the gym or on a run in the morning are more likely to read the text on this page more easily than those who did not do sports today.

Peak of activity

Research shows that we have little chance of memorizing difficult material directly during intense physical activity. At this time, blood flows from the prefrontal cortex, reducing its executive functions. In America, such an experiment was carried out. College students tried to solve problems during a 20-minute treadmill session. None of them could show off their minds. Therefore, if you have an exam or meeting where you need to get involved in work and be as efficient as possible, do not do cardio at full capacity while preparing for the X-hour.

The best time to focus on a project or challenging task is right after training.

Then the blood flows in our body are redistributed and the brain is ready for a constructive analysis of problems.

Recipe for Thinking Flexibility

In 2007, a famous experiment was carried out, which showed: just one 35-minute workout on the treadmill with a load in the range of 60-70% of the maximum heart rate significantly increases the flexibility of thinking. The subjects of the study were 40 adults aged 50–64 years. They were asked to come up with as many ways to use the newspaper as possible. Half of the group watched the movie, and the other half worked on the simulator. After 20 minutes, athletes came up with more options than TV fans.

Recipe for Thinking Flexibility

Thought flexibility is an important executive function of the brain that reflects the ability to switch and maintain a steady stream of creative thoughts. This quality of a person is associated with high productivity in those areas that require high intellectual output.

If you have a brainstorming session in the afternoon, a short but intense run during lunch will help you.

Cure for stress at work

For many of us, work is a source of stress. In America, more and more companies are encouraging employees to use corporate gyms and go to fitness clubs. Health insurance companies even include fees for these classes in the cost of the policy. This is because research shows that exercise reduces stress and increases productivity.

Scientists at the University of Leeds in England found that employees at companies who worked in corporate gyms were more productive and more capable of handling increased workloads. Most of the participants in the experiment did aerobics during the lunch break, for 45-60 minutes. Some have trained with weights or practiced yoga for half an hour to an hour. At the end of the working day, they filled out questionnaires, noting how well the day was in terms of relationships with colleagues, organizing working hours and fulfilling daily plans. As it turned out, during the day, the participants in the experiment felt more active, and in the afternoon, less tired, although they spent energy during the lunch break.

Cure for stress at work

So here’s a tip from Ignite Yourself author John Ratie: If you want to be productive, go in for sports! And this article is just a brief summary from the ocean of everything interesting that you still do not know about yourself and your body. By reading a book, for example, you can find Fountain of Youth and discover your motivation to tie your laces on your running shoes every day. Or deal with stress and understand what makes you stronger. Good luck with your training.

Post cover: pixabay.

Based on materials from the book “Light Yourself”.

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