PPP012: Designing your Mind for Peak Productivity with James Garrett

My guest today is James Garrett, the founder and CEO of Brain by Design - a US-based organisation that teaches strategies for getting more from your mind. He’s a psychologist, a former academic, co-founder of a highly successful social venture - Think Unlimited, which taught innovation and creativity to young people in the Middle East - and he’s chatting to me today about using your brain to enhance your productivity and creativity and live your best life.

This is an exciting and illuminating conversation and James and I have a ball discussing the science behind:

  • Why your focus and attention is like a battery that requires recharging.

  •  How to get more done by working less

  • How to use your mind to start on difficult or unpleasant tasks

  • The importance of taking breaks for your productivity and creativity and why your brain doesn't know how to do this

  • Why the standard '8 hours at your desk' is a disaster for your effectiveness, innovation, happiness and wellbeing.

  • James's Brain in Mind Program and the science of productivity and wellbeing, and

  • How he reads one book per week!

Listen in to discover James's tips and strategies.


  1. To get more done by working less, work in sprints and breaks. Your brain can’t sustain attention for hours at a time so try working for 90 minutes and taking a 30 minute break. If that feels difficult, start with five minute breaks and work up from there.

  2. To make a start on a difficult task, ‘shrink’ it by reducing the time you expect yourself to work on it. If you can reduce your emotional resistance to starting you can often create enough momentum to keep going.

  3. Kick start your creativity (and recharge your brain) by allowing your brain to find its ‘mind wandering mode.’ Great activities for this mode include walking, showering, napping and meditating.

Thanks for listening! If you've enjoyed this episode we'd love it if you would:

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