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January 22, 2015

How Brain Games Increase Productivity

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Employers don’t want employees playing games at work, but playing a brain game or solving a teaser before or after work or on breaks can help increase work productivity. Studies have shown  that brain games have more impact on productivity than incentive programs, bigger paychecks, improved benefits, or more vacation time.

The Basic Principle 

The foundation of mental training is knowing that mental ability relies more on skill than genetics. As a skill, it is subject to the benefits of habit. Practice makes perfect for mental abilities. Instead of conceding defeat and lack of ability to memorize, observe, or process information, take charge of your abilities and improve them through mental exercises. As new habits form, your main asset, your mind, will become sharp and versatile.

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The Benefits of Mental Exercise 

Stretching those mental muscles can increase your productivity in the following ways: 

  • Faster Thinking. Exercising your brain creates new mental pathways and habits that allow you to observe and make decisions quicker. Just as using your muscles makes them stronger, mental practice improves processing speed. 
  • Better Memory. Memory is more of a skill than a born ability. There are ways to train your memory to recall information more quickly and completely. 
  • Improved Creativity. To solve a problem, the mind must think outside the box. It must analyze and reorganize data into new relationships. Creativity is the ability to think in a new way more quickly. Practice helps creativity come more easily and quickly. 
  • Quicker Reactions. Mental exercises raise your alertness. You become more observant and aware of your surroundings. As you practice observing, your mind forms mental habits that are always on the lookout. 
  • Good Mood. Practicing our mental processing increases our information intake and recall. As we become more knowledgeable, we become more confident. Confidence saturates our productivity and we become happier, more efficient workers. 
  • Fighting Boredom. Employees can get bored at work. Providing a challenge to occupy their minds maintains an element of fun throughout the workday. If employees are overcome with boredom, their productivity will drag. Being occupied by some mind consuming thought helps work habits kick in, and productivity increases. 

Game Types

Try the following types of games to exercise your mind:

  • As coworkers tell each other riddles, they introduce a sensation of challenge into the workplace. This is especially useful when the work is rather tedious. Introducing an element of challenge distracts the mind from focusing on the unpleasantness of tedious work. 
  • Mobile Apps. On breaks, employees can play with apps like Lumosity, CogniFit, Personal Zen, Brain Trainer Special, Happify, Positive Activity Jackpot, Fit Brains Trainer, Eidetic, and ReliefLink. These games provide mind twisters and activities that boost problem-solving skills, memory, and observation. The convenience and variety of these apps make it easy for employees to find a game that suits them best. 
  • Camaraderie Games. Though not always mind twisters, games that build employee camaraderie help motivate productivity. Set up a treasure hunt with items hidden in the office. Assassin is a game in which each person is secretly assigned a different “target” person to take a facial picture of on their smartphone. When the shot is made, the victim passes their assigned target to the shooter. The last person standing is the winner.

Many other creative and challenging games can provide healthy mood lifting during the workday. Challenge your employees to a few rounds, and start seeing results.

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