Shifting Modes of Working: Boosting Brain Performance and Productivity

Person taking a break from work to stretch and shift modes of working.

In today’s fast-paced world, we are constantly bombarded with information and distractions. This can make it difficult to stay focused and productive, especially when it comes to work. However, recent research suggests that changing up the way we work can actually help our brains perform better. In this article, we will explore the benefits of shifting modes of working and how you can implement this strategy to improve your productivity and overall well-being.

What is Mode of Working?

Before we dive into the benefits of shifting modes of working, let’s first define what we mean by “mode of working.” Mode of working refers to the way in which we approach and complete tasks. For example, working on a task in a focused, uninterrupted manner for a set amount of time can be considered a mode of working. On the other hand, working on a task in short bursts with frequent breaks is a different mode of working.

The Science Behind Shifting Modes of Working

Research has shown that our brains are not designed to focus on one task for extended periods of time. In fact, studies have found that our brains operate in cycles of concentration and relaxation, known as ultradian rhythms. These rhythms typically last around 90 minutes, after which our brains begin to lose focus and productivity declines.

By shifting modes of working, we can align our work patterns with our natural ultradian rhythms. This means working in focused blocks of time followed by brief periods of rest and relaxation. This approach allows our brains to stay fresh and engaged, leading to improved productivity and creativity.

Benefits of Shifting Modes of Working

There are several benefits to shifting modes of working, including:

  1. Increased productivity: By aligning our work patterns with our natural ultradian rhythms, we can improve our productivity and get more done in less time.
  2. Improved focus: Shifting modes of working allows us to maintain focus and concentration for longer periods of time.
  3. Reduced stress: Taking regular breaks can help reduce stress and prevent burnout.
  4. Enhanced creativity: Shifting modes of working can stimulate our minds and help us think more creatively.
  5. Better overall well-being: By taking care of our brains and bodies, we can improve our overall well-being and quality of life.

How to Implement Shifting Modes of Working

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of shifting modes of working, let’s look at how you can implement this strategy in your own work routine:

  1. Identify your ultradian rhythms: Pay attention to your natural cycles of concentration and relaxation. When do you tend to lose focus and productivity? When do you feel most alert and engaged?
  2. Plan your work accordingly: Once you’ve identified your ultradian rhythms, plan your work accordingly. Schedule focused work blocks followed by brief breaks. Use a timer to help you stay on track.
  3. Take breaks: During your breaks, get up and move around. Stretch, take a walk, or do some deep breathing exercises. Avoid checking email or social media during your breaks, as this can be counterproductive.
  4. Experiment with different modes of working: There are many different modes of working to choose from, including Pomodoro Technique, Timeboxing, and Flowtime. Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you.


Shifting modes of working can be a powerful strategy for improving productivity, focus, and overall well-being. By aligning our work patterns with our natural ultradian rhythms, we can stay fresh and engaged, leading to increased creativity and better overall performance. So why not give it a try and see how it can benefit you?

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About the Author: Leah Harper

Leah Harper is the global technology editor for Daily Mid Time, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World. He writes about topics ranging from new products and services from tech giants to the startup economy to how artificial intelligence and other breakthroughs are changing life at work, home, and beyond.