Sharp at the Office
© Dan Vojtech
Keep it pointy in our one-size guide to keeping that brain buzzing at work, and the best habits that help you get there.
Like any other aspect of our life, we can lose a bit of our edge if we aren’t careful. The problem is that that sort of attitude can seep into the other parts of your day, and before you know it, you’re not even making it to basketball practice anymore. You daydream at work. Your jet ski collects rust, you just can’t be bothered to push it into the water for a long-needed ride. One bad habit leads to another, and we spend a lot of hours keeping our schedules fit, we forget the mind is also an instrument in need of a little time of its own to stay sharp.
Instead of developing bad habits, develop the positive ones. Let those habits inform your work life.
We sat down with Mohammed Burbayea to give us some tips; who happens to have a really cool day job, captain in the Ministry of Interior in Kuwait.
First off, the basics. Eat well, workout more, spend some moments decompressing from the day just before bed. Make sure you are taking care of you and getting all the daily clutter out. Today was today, tomorrow is tomorrow. Start fresh every time.
Now time for your brain. What are the activities we can do to keep the old noggin’ fresh? Here’s some you might like to try.
Get in a laugh. Yeah, we’re not saying you should head out right now and punk your friends for the guffaw factor, but we are saying that maybe you should pencil in a comedy night at home, or go to a show. Laughter is healthy and keeps your brain happy. And yes, it will spill over into work sharpness. And hey, it's science. We don’t make it; we just share it.
Learn something new. While the internet and social media is rife with tags like #alwaysbelearning, they might be onto something real true. Learning anything keeps your brain active even when you aren’t thinking about what you’re learning.
Some examples are: think about getting an update to one of your work certifications, or pick a brand new one that’ll pump up your work stats. We live in a time where consistently increasing your work and expertise knowledge is super helpful and needed. A certification is a great way to go.
Pick up a hobby. Once you’ve done a few work certifications, think about starting a new hobby. You’ll learn more each day, and that creative thinking and learning will also transfer into your work life. A hobby is the perfect way to occupy your time.
At work you can increase sharpness by practicing bursts of concentration. When you are setting your mind to a task, almost bring yourself to a meditative state, intensify your focus, using your mind like you would a muscle. Imagine this as a repetition in weightlifting and add reps like you normally would. The short bursts will challenge you as you add more.
Another way is to compartmentalize your tasks. This means that each thing you do gets a block of time that you sincerely dedicate to it, and nothing else interferes. Constant interruptions tend to disrupt, especially if your goal is getting back on track. Keep them away.
Use a mental carrot. Just like you would during a workout, think about the rewards that you’ll have after finishing strong. This may be a special meal or an exciting event, or getting to hang out with friends, the list goes on. Each day you set your work goals, and completing those goals sees you reap a reward at the end of day. And you can also include your upcoming vacation time as an example of the mental carrot technique.
The fact that what we do outside of work makes such a difference to our work time should tell us what we are now beginning to learn; that everything has an effect on everything else. If we are slack at home, and don’t work out, that mentality will become the norm even at work. But when we sharpen our wits it makes for a happier, healthier us.