Our brains are weird. Very weird.

Take the study showing that just looking at a green roof for 40 seconds can boost your focus, for example. Or the one that found that simply switching the units of time you use to conceptualize a deadline (swapping days for years, say) can help you beat procrastination.

These sorts of findings might be odd, but they're also potentially useful. Putting a green plant in your line of sight costs next to nothing. If it can help you get more done with less struggle, why not? So it's worth noting whenever scientists come up with a new way to hack our work routines with so little effort.

Which makes a recent, entertaining post on PsyBlog potentially super useful. It rounds up studies on just these sorts of subjects, from getting that annoying song out of your head to boosting attention. Some of them (like the miraculous effect of chocolate on your afternoon energy levels) we've covered here before, while others (like the earworm research) are interesting but not work focused. One result, however, is both new and relevant to entrepreneurs.

It deals with memory. You've got a lot on your plate, so keeping track of deadlines, facts, and new stuff you're trying to learn is essential. Any way you can get your brain to suck in and retain new facts quicker will probably be appreciated. Scientists apparently have a suggestion on this front that I'm almost sure you've never considered before -- go climb a tree.

Balancing your way to a better memory

It might sound too strange to believe, but according to psychological research, pressing yourself physically with tasks that require you to move and balance can actually improve your working memory by 50 percent.

PsyBlog quotes the study's lead author, Dr. Ross Allowar: "This research suggests that by doing activities that make us think, we can exercise our brains as well as our bodies... By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom." Balance beams, obstacle courses, and lifting awkward objects all do the trick.

Given that plenty of other science testifies to the incredible power of short breaks to boost your performance, the idea of getting up and out of the office to engage in a little playful exercise suddenly has lots to recommend it. (Can't get out for practical or office politics reasons? Maybe try to slip away for a little bit of yoga.)

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

Published on: Oct 5, 2015