Neuroscience of Productivity

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What is this course about?

Have you ever struggled with productivity? Setting and meeting goals? Ever wonder why it’s so hard to just stay focused and get things done? Welcome to Neuroscience of Productivity. In this course we explain what’s really happening in your brain when you struggle - and succeed! - to get things done. We bring the latest advances in neuroscience to help boost your brain and get through your day feeling better and more productive. In this course you’ll learn: • How to make and achieve goals • How to keep yourself motivated throughout your day • What to change in your environment to boost productivity • Lots and lots of concrete tips to boost your brain in all of these areas • And more....


Did you know that information in your brain travels up to 268 miles an hour? 

Most of us have heard dozens of facts like this. We’re told over and over again that our brain is amazing. Miraculous. Unfathomably sophisticated. 

And yet...most of us spend the majority of our time struggling with our brain. Just stay focused. Be productive. How did I miss that deadline? I can’t believe I forgot my keys again. 

If our brain is so sophisticated, why is it so difficult to get through a single workday? 

In this course, we’ll be diving deep into the neuroscience of productivity. We’ll learn:
• What actually happens in our brain when we set a goal
• What it means that distraction actually stems from the emotional part of the brain 
• What is happening in your brain when you take a break 
And much more!

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Let’s talk about goals. Have you ever set a goal and then not accomplished it?

If you’re like most of us, then the answer is yes! But why? What went wrong in your goal setting process? 

In order to answer that, we’ll explore what actually happens when you set a goal. Because just the act of setting a goal already triggers activity in your brain. In this lesson, we’ll look at:
• What bsystems are triggered when you set a goal
• The three stages of setting an achievable goal

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What does the military know about productivity that we don’t?

In this lesson we’ll learn about a military program that specializes in predicting whether or not new recruits will succeed in the military. The secret to these cadets' success is high levels of something called Grit, which is the ability to set and follow through on completing goals. And it turns out that Grit is helpful to all of us trying to accomplish our goals, not just military cadets. So how do we develop higher levels of Grit?

In this lesson we’ll learn:
• Which systems in our brain need to work together to accomplish something
• The magical chemical that helps them do this
• How we can increase this chemical and improve our productivity
See you there!

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What’s the one place you cannot focus? Where it feels impossible to be productive, no matter how hard you try. 

Maybe, it’s too noisy. Or maybe, it’s actually too quiet. Is there too much going on? Or...not enough?

Our brains are all so different. That means that all of us respond to environmental stimuli in different ways. Some of us need more, others need less. It all depends on the wiring of our specific brains. 

So, how do you know the best environment for you to work in?

In this lesson, you’ll learn:
• What happens in your brain when there’s too much stimulus
• What your sense have to do with your productivity
• How to use your senses to stay productive throughout your day

See you there!

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How to deal with those pesky distractions that block our focus? Where do they come from? Distractions are part of life but by a better understanding of why they occur you can better deal with them. In this lesson you'll learn:
• How distractions are connected to emotions and the key research that discovered this
• How to deal with two kinds of distractions: internal and external distractions

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How does taking breaks affect your cognitive functions? What areas in your brain does it trigger and how can you make your breaks work for you? In this lesson we'll cover all the essentials about taking breaks!
• How long your break should be
• How to bounce back from breaks
• Who discovered that taking breaks are important for mental health

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Multitasking. Either you love it or hate it, but do you know if it's actually good for your productivity? Many people think it is, others swear it's a killer. In this lesson Orit and Dena break down the myths about multitasking, what a Stanford research discovered about it and how to schedule your day around deep and shallow work.

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by information? That you're trying to keep track of to many things and it's all a bit too much? That's exactly the topic this lesson is about: information overload. Sometimes, it's not a question of what information you're trying to absorb, rather how much and in what order you're trying to absorb it in. In this lesson you'll learn:

• How the brain thinks about information chunks
• The story of an amazing pilot
• How to manage with information overload at work

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Does time slow down when we're in danger? Why does falling feel like it takes forever and can we leverage that to improve our executive functioning? What about time management tips in general?

In this lesson you'll learn:
• Why time slows down when you're scared
• Why time speeds up as we grow older!
• How to better assess your project time horizons

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Can sleep help your productivity? What about cat naps or just taking short breaks? Thomas Edison used to take short 'power naps' in his chair during his work day, so what can that teach us about our brain?
How can we think creatively about structuring our day and using creativity to boost our productivity?

In this lesson you'll learn:
• How sleep impacts productivity
• How to think creatively about structuring your day
• What the diffuse mode of thought is

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In lesson 10, our last, we'll be talking about what it takes to complete something - like this course. There are two cognitive effects that affect our desire to finish things we've started, the Zeigarnik and Ovsiankina effect, which we'll learn about.

Then we'll wrap up with an overview of what we've learned in this course, how to set goals and how to create your own tools for success.

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Courses Authors

Dena Lehrman

Occupational therapist

Dr. Orit Elgavi

Neuroscientist and Educator

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