Have you ever sat at your desk, stared at your computer screen and drawn a complete blank? Not known what to do next, not even being able to concentrate on the task you were just doing? They say time is our most precious resource, but what if that time is spent not being productive, not getting anything done and just watching it passing by?

“The most precious resource of all is what we call proactive attention”

– Graham Allcott

So what is proactive attention? And how can we get more of it?

Proactive attention is that time of day when you’re “in the zone”. Your concentration levels are sky-high and things get done at high-speed and great quality. But in our average day, we only get a few hours of proactive attention, and that’s if we’re lucky.

Think about your average day: how often are you “in the zone”? How much time is spent actually getting things done, between getting ready, bringing the kids to school, attending meetings, interruptions and tons of useless emails sent to the whole company to remind everyone about something that concerns about 2% of them? Again, if we are lucky, we get maybe 1-2h a day where we are actually able to work to our full potential.

All sounds a bit depressing, doesn’t it? The good news is, you can do a lot to increase your moments of proactive attention. And as a great side effect, you will automatically improve your health, too! It’s important to consider what has the biggest impact on your brain not only short term, but also in the long run. One of the most effective ways to improve your health and your proactive attention levels is through nutrition. The better you feed yourself (and especially your brain), the better you will feel and the more productive you will be!

Here’s an example: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that boosts our focus and energy, lifts our mood and improve our attention. Serotonin is mainly produced from an amino acid called L-Tryptophane, which can be found in foods like lentils, whole grain cereals, beans or nuts and avocados as well as eggs, poultry and fish. Hence, if you want to have more Serotonin soaring through your bloodstream, make sure you eat enough of the good stuff! Furthermore, foods that have been produced as naturally as possible and who are not processed have a higher concentration of nutrients, so make sure you get high-quality food. The slightly higher price you might pay when buying high-quality, non processed food will be made up for by your increased productivity and therefore yield a great return on investment.

Oh and just as a small extra: dark chocolate (> 70% cocoa) is a very good source of Tryptophane, too 😉 One or two squares a day are a nice addition to a balanced diet!

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