1. Swap Caffeine For Cardio
If you rely on triple lattes to pay attention, you’ll likely find it harder to focus when you’re not buzzed. “Your brain will begin to operate as though it requires caffeine to be alert,” explains Coates. A more effective stimulant: exercise. Physical activity has been shown to sharpen focus, in people with ADHD and without, possibly because it can help trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that are thought to affect learning and memory. One report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that aerobic exercise in particular may improve immediate and long-term functioning in regions of the brain relating to attention.
2. Be confident, look your boss into the eyes
Hate your horrible boss? Hash it out: Seeing eye-to-eye with your supervisor about the quality of your relationship—even if you agree that it sucks—may improve your work performance, suggests new research from Michigan State University.
Researchers analyzed 280 employee-supervisor pairs and found that workers were more motivated if they were on the same page as their bosses about how they would rate their relationship.
The ideal scenario is obviously for both you and your manager to have mutual trust and respect. But if you think your connection with him is crappy, the best case for you would be if your boss felt the same way, researchers say.
Sound a little suspect? Here’s the logic: If one of you is under the mistaken impression that you’re getting along great, you’ll have mismatched expectations of each other, says study author Fadel Matta. That disconnect will lead to tension, confusion, and frustration.
But if you both see your relationship as poor, you’ll both have the same expectation: clock in, clock out, nothing more. And that could actually make for a better work environment.
The problem? Many workers aren’t aligned with their bosses, Matta says, because so many people fake friendliness in the workplace. And supervisors don’t realistically have time to develop a great connection with everyone.
Your best bet: Have candid and frequent chats with your boss, Matta says. Don’t ask him if he likes you—that will just get awkward and personal. Stick to questions about what he expects of you. It’s easier to follow through if you know exactly what he wants, and meeting his expectations will only do good things for your relationship.