I used to have trouble focusing during the workday. It was a serious problem because working in private equity; you had to be “on” 100% of the time. You just simply could not be distracted by your iPhone or be drowsy at 1:00 in the afternoon. To operate at peak mental performance, you can follow my foot-steps in making these small changes to your lifestyle and how you work:
1. Get Enough Vitamin D
If you get tired during the day despite getting 8 hours of sleep, you are not getting enough vitamin D. According to studies done by the National Institutes of Health, the normalization of vitamin D levels improves fatigue of people who are deficient.
I personally started taking vitamin D supplements because on a normal afternoon day, I am fatigued to the point where I am unproductive. Since I started a vitamin D regimen, I no longer have this problem.
2. Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was invented in the 1990s by Francesco Cirillo, a tech entrepreneur based in Italy. When you have large tasks, break it down into intervals that are 25 minutes long that have 5 minute rests in-between.
Pomodoro is cyclical. You work in short intervals, which makes you consistently productive. You also get to take short breaks that bolster your motivation and keep you creative.
On a daily basis, I can get solid eight or nine hours of work done because of this technique.
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
Many people do not take good sleep seriously. If you do not get proper sleep, your brain shrinks. That was the surprising conclusion reached by the American Academy of Neurology. In a study to examine the relationship between sleep quantity and hippocampal volume, “poor sleep can cause protein buildup… that attacks brain cells.”
Improving the quantity and quality of sleep could be an important way to improve brain health and foster the creativity that comes with it.
4. Get Good Exercise
According to studies done by the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, exercise can benefit the brain in many areas. It increases your heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also helps release body hormones, which provide nourishment for the growth of brain cells. Indirectly, it also improves mood, self-image, and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety.
5. Meditate in the Morning
Meditation in the morning can improve your focus and brain function. Mediating in the morning also decrease rumination, which are negative thoughts that act as a brain-energy vampire. According to a 2010 study using U.S. Marines, just 12 minutes of meditation a day was enough to increase mental resilience significantly!
Fifteen minutes of meditation in the morning is an excellent ROI for hours of increased productivity in the afternoon!