Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


We spend countless hours staring unceasingly and unblinkingly into a digital screen. The pale and incandescent flicker of the unnatural light only serves to add to our woes. Spending hours baked in the sun commuting to work seems like a distant memory. These inordinate cycles may often lead to periods where maintaining productivity may seem like an arduous task. Sometimes, even the most motivated among us may encounter days where no amount of caffeine would coerce us to get the task done.

In such instances, one has to seek out innovative ways to get the job done.  Sounds like an uphill battle, doesn’t it?

To help you out we have listed some novel ways to enhance productivity at work, based on insights.  Approaching these ideas with an open mind can stop your productivity from taking a nosedive.

Humour it out

Humour is by far the most important dimension of the human brain,” Edward De Bono says. It encourages us to think in asymmetrical ways, boosts our ingenuity, and gives us a boost of energy. Humour in the workplace has been shown to increase staff morale and even success in studies. Humour can be a great stress reliever in these dire times and also keep one alert and focussed. Having a few light moments with colleagues virtually or even with family members can lighten up one’s mood and help them take up tasks with a renewed gusto.

Laughter increases the release of feel-good hormones, decreases anxiety, and makes us bond with others, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tom Peters, a management strategist, has long argued that humour is essential for building team spirit and coping constructively with errors in the workplace. Humour in small doses can be a great secret weapon to snap the mind and body back into what needs to be done.

Indulge in some slack-off time

It may seem counterintuitive to take brief breaks every now and then. After all, work is all building momentum and unwavering focus, isn’t it?  However, taking short breaks has been established to be beneficial to memory, focus, and imagination. Taking brief breaks between tasks can seem counterintuitive, but it actually improves focus, imagination, and memory. Worked continuously for extended periods of time causes discomfort, depression, and judgement fatigue. Take daily breaks to reset and recharge your mind at work to increase your productivity.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and her colleagues at USC and MIT used an fMRI scanner to analyse neural activity during the brain’s “default mode”—a state of relaxation synonymous with taking a break or making our minds wander—in a seminal 2012 research paper. The brain is still really busy in this state, with a different range of areas lighting up than when we’re focusing on the outside world. Further research revealed that this default mode is critical for consolidating memories, focusing on previous events, and preparing for the future—in other words, it aids in the formation of our life narratives. Breaks are essential for cognitive skills like reading comprehension and divergent thinking because they keep our brains safe.

Eat the proverbial frog

Eating the proverbial frog means that taking on the most crucial and seemingly daunting task may be critical towards enhancing productivity. This task, when kept on hold, tends to overwhelm us and is often the reason for our procrastination. This is where Brian Tracy’s famous ‘eat the frog’ technique comes in. To achieve productivity and performance on a high consistently is all about tackling the biggest task as the first order of business on a work-day. Building such a discipline for life can unlock the doors towards lasting success and focus.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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