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Healthy Body, Healthy Business: Prime Your Mind for Improved Productivity

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By Zoe Eisenberg

Just like it would be difficult to drive your car down a road littered with safety cones and large debris, working with a cluttered mind is not conducive to bettering your business. When you’re not able to focus, mistakes are made, phone calls go unreturned, and paperwork begins to back up. But how can you make sure your mind is in its peak performance? Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to meditate! Read the following ohm-free tips to get your brain in its best shape ever. Your business will thank you for it!

1. Stop multitasking. While multitasking may seem like it’s a business boon, it can actually stretch your attention thin. Results from a study conducted by researchers at Stanford showed heavy multitaskers have trouble keeping tasks separate and ocusingfocusing on their current project. Their brains were stuck on whatever they were working on before. By going in a handful of different directions at once, you’re not giving 100 percent to any project at any time. Free up your mental real estate by making a to-do list and ranking it by priority. Now go ahead and thrill yourself as you check off your tasks one-by-one.

2. Stand up. Studies show that sitting all day is bad for your health, even if you’re active outside the office. To give your brain an oxygen boost (and refresh your creativity) be sure to stand up at least once an hour. Stretch, briefly chat up a coworker, or take a quick loop around the office to get the blood flowing. Having trouble remembering to take standing breaks? Set an alarm.

3. Sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial to proper brain function, and studies suggest that getting less than six hours of sleep per night can raise your cortisol levels, making you more stressed out. Additionally, sleep deprivation will put a damper on your mental performance, and make even the easiest of tasks—like a 15-minute progress meeting or lunch with a client—seem difficult.

4. Play – While scientists are still determining whether mental games ( hello, weekly crosswords!) can boost your brain function, it has been shown that letting loose and shaking off stress will allow you to better focus when you return to business as usual. So make the most of your time off; power-down your smartphone and enjoy a playdate with family or friends. When you do return to the office, you will focus better than if you spent your weekend worrying about work.

5. Sweat – While you may know exercise will keep you fit, did you know it can also keep your brain healthy? Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly remember more, think clearer and often perform better on cognitive tests than those who are sedentary. Whether it’s the increased blood flow or the rise in stress-busting serotonin, breaking a sweat regularly will be good for your body, your brain, and your business.

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