I always joke that when someone asks me “When do you sleep?” I know I am on the right track.  If they asked me that, then my productivity level appears to be very high (at least to them!).  But what are some things that make you get more done?  I think that’s at the heart of the question.  So here are some basic tips (facts, actually) that might help you up you productivity game.

Sleep Helps Brain Function:  The book Brain Rules makes the case that pulling “all-nighters” absolutely do NOT help you when cramming for the test.  If you are a person that generally needs 8 hours sleep, getting 4 hours less sleep actually decreases your brain function by up to 40%.  If you do the same thing for two nights in a row, your cognitive ability goes down another 40%.  Wow!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to lose 80% of my brain power and still function at a high level.  If you want to be more production, get your zzzz’s.

You Can’t Multi-Task:  The great myth of the office world is that you can multi-task well.  You suck at it.  This is not my opinion, it’s how your brain works.  The fact is, our brains cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.  So when we take our attention away from one thing and move it to another, our brains have to stop and then start again.  Our brains are super-fast computers, so you might not notice it.  But your productivity is being rapidly slowed when you try to multi-task.  It’s really hard in today’s hyper-connected world, but do your best to give your attention to one thing at a time if you want to get more done.

Take a Walk:  If you want your brain to function at a higher level, make sure you spend some time on the treadmill (or walking outside).  Exercise increases brain function (and therefore helps productivity).  Think of it this way, the blood vessels in your brain are like little highways.  When you exercise, this activity helps to “pave the highways” so your brain can function more efficiently.  The coolest part is that this exercise can even create new highways too!  So if you want to get your brain pumping, get your blood pumping.

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