No matter how motivated you are, your mind will wander throughout the workday. While this is natural, especially since everyone needs (and deserves) a break, too much wandering could severely harm your output and impact your workplace contributions.
It isn’t just your performance you need to worry about, though. Low brain activity can also impact your mental well-being and create a negative loop that’s challenging–and sometimes impossible–to overcome. With that in mind, here are ten ways to keep your brain active.
Good posture is one of the cornerstones of any healthy workplace, as it helps you stay focused and avoid a wide range of possible injuries, discomfort, or other issues at the office. Sitting at a desk all day means you need to focus more on your posture.
As the hours tick by, your body will naturally slouch as it relaxes. While this can feel more comfortable than sitting rigidly, it puts unnecessary pressure on your neck, shoulders, and lower back. These issues are directly related to poor posture and pain, so try to sit straight as much as possible.
However, it can be a challenge to remember to sit straight and focus on the hundreds of other tasks or projects you’re balancing. So, you need something that makes it easier to maintain your posture during the workday.
An office chair with sufficient lumbar support eases the pressure on your lower back and can even encourage you to sit straight. It is designed in a way that prevents you from slouching at all. While this can feel a little strange at first, it will eventually train you to sit upright with minimal effort to maintain your posture.
You could also benefit from using monitor stands to keep your neck straight and avoid the dangers of craning your neck all day. This issue is most effective if you work on the computer since you may hunch over constantly. A monitor stand allows you to adjust your screen height to match your eye level, meaning you will eliminate the need to sit in an unnatural position.
It’s also worth thinking about your wrist and arm position. Use a wrist rest to support your forearms and keep the keyboard further away than you would to avoid hunching over too much as the day progresses.
Your mind can wander if you spend all day working on the same project. Even though you know how important it is, you’re bound to experience project fatigue at some point. Look for ways to take your mind off your work during your breaks or to refresh and realign your mind to prevent burnout.
Some options include reading a chapter or two of your current book or completing a crossword puzzle online. These ideas encourage you to be productive rather than simply scrolling through your phone during your break but also ensure you aren’t feeling overwhelmed by the project.
If you don’t track your water intake, it’s time to start now (or at least the next time you sit down to do some work). Staying hydrated is key for keeping your mind sharp and preventing brain fog as it encourages your brain cells to communicate and prevents tiredness. The more you drink, the more alert you’ll feel, meaning you can maintain momentum while working and avoid procrastination.
Drinking plenty of water also stops you from feeling hungry even when you’re not. In many cases, hunger pangs are instead your body crying out for hydration. In this case, you’ll drink more, stay focused, and stop snacking so much.
Although staying hydrated can keep you from snacking, you should keep your energy levels up and prevent flagging. The trick is to snack on healthier foods like fruit or nuts instead of chocolate or similarly sugary products that provide a useful but brief kick.
If you have a smartwatch, you may have received notifications telling you it’s time to move. These alerts typically pop up if you haven’t gotten up from your desk chair for around an hour. While you don’t want to look like you’re shrinking away from your duties, you can still get up from your desk and move around the office.
Sometimes, you’ll need to get up to attend meetings or check details with a coworker, but don’t let this be the only time you get up. Walk around the office, grab a coffee, fill up your water, or even take meetings over the phone while walking around.
If you don’t want to risk distracting yourself by getting up and moving around, you can always stretch at your desk to keep your mind focused. There are many ways to stretch without getting up, and these are ideal for downtime between calls or while you’re waiting for a response from a coworker or client. Again, you might not be actively working, but you are still using your time productively.
If you eat lunch at your desk, it’s time to stop. You might not realize it, but eating lunch at your desk can hinder your ability to focus because you never give your mind the chance to associate something positive (like your lunch break) with time away from your desk.
If you can, make a point to eat lunch in the break room or even your car if you don’t want to chat with coworkers. You can even go out for lunch once a week to help you get an entire change of scenery.
Finally, managing work-related stress is vital for keeping your brain active. The more stressed you are, the more you’ll struggle to focus on the task ahead of you. However, you’ll struggle to achieve that if you’re overwhelmed with stress.
Instead of letting stress get the better of you, try breathing and mindfulness practices. You can also plan your days better to stay organized and feel more in control without demanding too much of your brain.
Keeping your mind sharp is always beneficial in professional and personal settings. You need to be on the ball at the office to ensure you get that promotion and demonstrate your value to your managers. These tips can help you manage your focus and overcome the many challenges that arise during your workday to ensure you are always on it, whether planning a new campaign or taking on demanding projects.