How often do you stumble through a task, taking far longer than you should, due to a tired brain or a brain fog? After working long hours or just dealing with a particularly difficult task, your brain needs a boost. While exercise might not sound like a great way to deal with being tired, productivity exercises are designed specifically to give your brain the break it needs to re-energize and re-focus.
Before doing any of these exercises, you should know these aren’t a replacement for sleep. Your brain still needs a good night’s rest to help you be as productive as possible.
1. Jam to Your Favorite Music
Music has a variety of psychological benefits. It’s also one of the most fun productivity exercises. All you have to do is enjoy listening to your favorite music for ten to fifteen minutes. Don’t have that long? Listen to just one song that makes you happy or gets you excited, such as a stadium anthem.
You can even play music while you’re working. You still need to take dedicated breaks and that’s when you pick a few favorite tunes to destress and relax your mind.
2. Read Something Different
Even if you’ve been staring at your computer or phone screen, read something completely unrelated to your job or whatever you’re currently working on. For instance, pick up the latest science-fiction release or even a favorite fantasy novel from years ago. If you want to give your eyes a break, listen to an audiobook. This exercise takes your brain off the current task, giving it something new and interesting to do. Even just a few chapters can re-energize you.
Does randomly laughing sound silly? While your co-workers might think so, it doesn’t matter because laughter is good for you. Genuine laughter reduces stress, eases tension, and decreases mental fatigue. Get away from current news, depressing stories, and menial tasks for a little bit and laugh. Joke with co-workers. Watch funny videos on YouTube. Call a friend and laugh about old times. You can even just say “ha ha” repeatedly until you feel so silly that you start laughing at yourself.
Doodling might seem like a mindless activity, but that’s what makes it one of the best productivity exercises. It’s not about thinking, but just letting your creative side have some fun. Of course, you can go beyond doodling if it makes you feel good.
Actually, any creative outlet works as a productivity exercise. Just don’t let it stress you out. For most people, this engages a different part of the brain than your normal activities. It’s refreshing, fun, and gives your brain a much needed break.
A short afternoon nap boosts your mood, increases productivity, helps you feel more alert, and relieves stress. So, if you can, add a short nap as part of your day and get more accomplished.
This may definitely sound like the opposite of being productive, but napping gives your entire body a break. While napping isn’t possible at every job, it’s a great perk if you’re working from home. If you didn’t sleep well the night before or your brain is exhausted and you can’t keep your eyes open, set an alarm and nap for fifteen minutes.
The longer you sit, the stiffer you feel. This also means that the blood in your system isn’t moving as much. Instead of feeling awake and alert, you feel groggy. This is your body’s response to being still, especially as your brain gets more tired.
Stretching helps reduce tension and stiffness in your body. It also gives your eyes a break from your screen. Most importantly, it gets your blood flowing better, energizing both your mind and body.
7. Quick Meditation
Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting with your legs crossed for an hour as you hum to yourself. While extended meditation is beneficial, closing your eyes and breathing deeply for just a few minutes has a powerful effect on your brain. You can meditate in silence or put on some background noise, such as classical music, nature sounds, or white noise.
Start with deep breathing for two to five minutes. You can move on to mantras or different meditations once you’re comfortable with that. Another type of meditation is to eat slowly. Grab a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit. Eat it slowly and really focus on the flavor and texture. It’s simple, but gives you a break, meditation, and a snack.
Productivity exercises aren’t about being productive during the exercise. Use them to give your brain the break it needs to be more productive after the exercise is done. Which exercise are you planning to try first?
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