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How to trick your brain into being more productive


If you’ve ever complained about being too busy, it may not be your boss overworking you — your brain could be the problem.

Aside from actual work, employees waste more time with constant distractions, meetings, and emails than ever, according to software company Atlassian. Technology hasn’t helped: on average, Vox found workers send Slack messages every 12 minutes in an eight-hour workday.

Read more: 15 top companies that let you have a life outside of work

In conjunction to the constant barrage of distractions, employees and executives around the world complain of burnout and stress, particularly at large tech companies.

The paradox between the decline in productive work during the day and the feeling of being constantly overworked could boil down to your biology, UC Berkeley cognitive neuroscientist Sahar Yousef told the audience at Adobe’s 99U conference, which brought together creative experts in fields from virtual reality to interactive art.

Everything about the workday has changed, Yousef said: most communication no longer occurs in person; technology allows workers to constantly be plugged into work regardless of a 9-to-5 schedule; you have coworkers around the world; and open offices have replaced cubicles.

Our bodies are the only thing that haven’t changed, Yousef added. Many of us have not adapted our biology or rewired our brains to the tech that transformed our workplaces.

“We’ve created amazing new tech and devices, but the crux of the problem is that we’re not changing — we’re still ancient, we still have this old biology,” Yousef told the audience. “Until we actually stop fighting our biology and embrace it and leverage it, it’s going to feel like an uphill battle.”

Yousef explained ways to rewire your workday to get the most out of your body’s optimal performance ability. Here are 10 ways to trick your brain into getting more done, according to Yousef.


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