With so much obsession over the latest gadgets, it's easy to think that technology alone can make us more productive. But there's more to just sitting in front of your computer with a big cup of coffee -- especially if you can bring your own device to work.
When you combine neuroscience research with game developers you get something like Lumosity, a startup that makes apps and games designed to improve cognitive ability rather than just entertain. The startup works with experts at Harvard, Yale, and Stanford to integrate the latest research in human cognitive performance. Its apps, according to Lumosity, can help improve your memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving.
BYTE asked Joe Hardy, Ph.D., VP of research and development at Lumosity, for some tips on improving productivity in the workplace:
- Get a good night's sleep. Sleep plays an important role in memory formation.
- Drink plenty of water. Our brains are approximately 80% water. Dehydration can impair both short- and long-term memory.
- Eat fish and shellfish. Omega-3 fatty acids are important building blocks for the brain.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E prevent cell damage.
- Lay off the sugar. Although our brains need glucose to function, studies have found that consuming too much sugar slows down brains, hampering memory and learning.
- Exercise. Regular physical exercise promotes increased levels of brain chemicals and more efficient blood circulation, which is vital to removing cellular waste and delivering nutrients needed by the brain. Studies have found that physical exercise also can stimulate the production of new brain cells.
- Be social. Studies have reported that an active social life appears to delay age-related memory loss.
- Challenge your brain. Brain training games such as Lumosity's exercise core cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. Lumosity's wide range of challenges are designed specifically to develop brain performance.
- Try new things. Reading, learning new skills and thinking in new ways can help keep your brain flexible and sharp.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. A Lumosity study found that users who had one drink a day outperformed those who had no drinks, but there was a decrease in performance on speed, problem solving and memory with three or more drinks per day.
About 25 million people in over 180 countries use Lumosity apps and that gives it a large store of data on human cognitive performance. The apps are available on the iPhone and iPad Touch, so you can try the Lumosity brain teasers anywhere -- including work.