Rewiring Your Brain to be More Productive

Source: Fast Company, Jan 2017


The biggest efficiency killer is stress, says Bach. “When people get stressed out it redirects the blood in their brain and turns off their prefrontal cortex,” he says. “Our amygdala and adrenal glands start firing, and we go into fight or flight mode where our intelligence level drops to that of a monkey. You don’t need deep thought when a mountain lion is attacking you.”

… a protocol called MIR, which stands for measure, interrupt, and replace:

Measure: First, become aware of and measure chronic stressful situations.

Interrupt: Next, redirect or interrupt the brain’s automatic response, which is to go into stress mode under certain triggers.

Replace the reaction with another response, such as laughter or calm.

Imagine the situation and follow it with your positive response. You will need to repeat the process at least 200 times to interrupt the pattern and direct it to a new pathway. Replacing the reaction with something positive rewards the brain and releases dopamine.


Lighting has a big impact on brain function, and something as simple as having the wrong bulbs could be hurting your cognitive function, says Bach.

“Photo receptors in the brain for light can change your mental state,” he says. “You want lots of blue light in morning in the office, because it gives you energy.

A core insight around productivity is understanding that we go in and out of states of being, and certain states are more productive, says Bach. “Cultivate self awareness about how your productivity waxes and wanes during the day, and become aware of your patterns,” he says. “These are opportunities. When you figure out how to recognize your positive states, you will enhance your productivity.”


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