Weekly Productivity Links, the BRRAAAAAINNNNNS edition

Happy Halloween, everyone! Have you figured out what you’re dressing up as yet? If you don’t mind wrecking your productivity, you could go as a workplace zombie. It only takes two easy steps: 1. turn on every notification you can think of, 2. multitask as much as possible. You’ll quickly supercharge your amygdala and short-circuit the more analytical parts of your brain. Before you know it, you’ll have overloaded your brain into a state where you’re stumbling around the office looking for brains to chew on. Editors note, don’t actually do this. It may make for a good costume, but it might be so effective that you won’t recover from it. Also, your co-workers are unlikely to appreciate it.

Here are some posts about brains, and how they affect your productivity.

Prefrontal Mondays

This article breaks down the differences between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Both parts of the brain serve useful purposes, But for office zombies, it’s all amygdala, all the time, and the prefrontal cortex gets completely left out. The amygdala controls your “fight or flight response”, and can actually respond to stimulus much faster than other parts of your brain. This puts the prefrontal cortex at a serious disadvantage when the amygdala is revved up. A good example of the differences between the two regions: “Your amygdala will run around trying to ‘put out fires.’ Your prefrontal cortex will think about how to prevent the fires in the future.”

Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction

If the amygdala overriding your rational thought processes weren’t bad enough, there’s also dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gets released in the brain’s pleasure centers. The release of dopamine forms the basis for nicotine, cocaine, and gambling addictions. In the past, it was the brains way of keeping us motivated to find food, procreate, and acquire survival skills. But when the rewards come too easy, it can be a major driver for addiction. Here’s a look at how websites, games, and apps take advantage of the task-reward, “compulsion loop” to make engaging products, but also in some cases drive additive behaviors.

Dopamine impacts your willingness to work

Dopamine isn’t all bad. This study shows that people that produce higher levels of dopamine tend to be motivated, type-A personalities but only if the dopamine is released in the right areas of the brain. Released in another region, dopamine can decrease willingness to work hard for rewards. Takeaway, brains are complicated.

Confessions Of A Professional Internet Addict

Speaking of internet addiction, here’s “a cautionary tale about what happens if you plug your spinal column into the Internet before either the Internet or your nervous system is ready.”

The science behind how your productivity is chosen by what you eat

Here’s a look at how the foods we eat affect productivity. Essentially, everything eventually gets broken down into glucose, which fuels our bodies and brains. There’s a lot of variety in the path foods take to get there, however. This article takes a look at the different mechanisms, AND gives some tips on how to stay productive by getting the most out of your food intake. Might make you re-think your upcoming haloween candy binge.

Happy Halloween! Have a great week!

2 Comments on “Weekly Productivity Links, the BRRAAAAAINNNNNS edition”

  1. Lloyd says:

    Nice article, I can’t stop laughing, you have the right term there, zombie mode. well that is what we always do. Time management is the key

  2. Dean says:

    This is a really great blog post guys! I’m posting on our intranet for the rest of my company to read. Of the two coworkers I’ve told to download RescueTime, one actually has (while the other refuses b/c she doesn’t want to know how much time she wastes…haha) – thanks for the awesome product!