5 Lessons From Lucy: No-Brainer Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter Not Harder

Wouldn't it be cool to have more brain power and get more work done? Luc Besson’s latest blockbuster Lucy poses an intriguing question: If humans only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity, what would be possible if we could unlock it all? The film’s answer involves a lot of guns, gangs and psychedelic montages. But it also made us wonder: What would such an upgrade do for office productivity?

Unfortunately, the myth that we use just 10 percent of our brain was debunked long ago. Our brains are already fully functioning. So while you can’t actually use more of your brain, you can get more out of it. Here are five simple ways to work smarter, starting today:

1. Create a morning routine. It’s all too easy to be distracted (and waste time) as you start your workday. Avoid this by setting a fixed morning ritual. It could be as simple as walking around the block or reading the news while you drink your coffee. When the routine is finished, your brain will know it’s time to get down to work.

2. Take frequent breaks. Your brain can only stay fully focused for so long before it needs a rest. Taking a short break every 90 minutes or so helps fight fatigue, charges your brain’s battery and helps you work smarter throughout the day.

3. Get back to nature. One surprising way to work smarter is to get out of your chair. Research indicates that interacting with nature boosts your ability to focus on mental tasks. Try going for a walk at lunchtime (and be sure to take a long enough lunch break so you have time to do that!) or holding meetings outside when the weather’s nice.

4. Make a to-don’t list. Jot down all the unproductive things you spend time on during the workday. That could include attending meetings you don’t really need to attend, opening every email message as it arrives or checking Facebook for the 14th time today. Keep this list next to your daily to-do list so you remain focused on what really counts.

5. Become a lifelong learner. Don’t be lulled into a mental comfort zone. Keep your brain active by staying curious. Read something new or have lunch with an interesting colleague. The more stimulation your brain has, the more creatively you can approach your work.

What do you do to work smarter? Share your ideas below.  

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