Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.
When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.
The average human has an eight-second attention span-less than that of a goldfish, according to a 2015 study from Microsoft. That number has shrunk over the years due to our digital connectedness and the fact that the brain is always seeking out what's new and what's next.
If you need to focus, log out of email and social media. Log out for 30 minutes either at the beginning of the day or for a period in the afternoon. You won’t believe how much you can get done when you’re not always interrupting yourself to return emails.
One of the most horrifying statistics for modern knowledge workers is how much time they spend on email. They send, receive, and respond to email for an average of 5.6 hour per workday. According to Cal Newport, our highest value work is rare, valuable, and cognitively demanding.
Gazzaley and Rosen say some activities may boost cognition and attention by stimulating the brain's ability to strengthen and reorganize existing neural connections, a process called neuroplasticity. Activities that may boost cognition include physical exercise, meditation and spending time in nature. Recent research also finds that some cognitive exercises may also help.