I know this post may sound a little crazy, but over the last year or so, I have gotten into the habit of chewing gum when working on projects that required long periods of concentration. Take working on the book for example, on the days I was chewing gum, it was easier to focus, and I would usually write a page or more than when I was not. I ended up going down to Costco and just buying boxes and boxes of the stuff (all sugar free) and every morning I would write, I would get a fresh pack of gum and literally chew through the whole thing in the period of 1-2 hours. I also realize that it isn't for everyone, some people do not like chewing gum, but for me- my thinking performance is definitely improved, and not a little.
Having done a little research, surprizingly, it seems that there are a number of scientific studies that have been done that support the idea that chewing gum improves certain cognitive skills, such as concentration and focus. I am actually amazed that the difference between gum chewers and non-gum chewers is significant. If two people of exact identical skill are competing against, or continually concentrating on something, the gist of it is, the gum chewer will typically outperform the non-gum chewer, all things being equal.
This brings up some very interesting hypothetical applications. Just know that for now, if I am thinking really hard about something, I am usually chewing gum now.
Check out some of these articles- most are coming from the Wrigley Institute of Science, but Google "Chewing Gum Performance" and you will get a host of interesting articles.
Chewing Gum Improves Memory
Chewing Gum Improves Grades
Chewing Gum as a Diet and Weight Management Tool
Chewing Gum Helps Focus, Concentration and Alertness
Chewing Gum As Stress Relief Tool
Chewing Gum Improves Academic Performance
Summary of Several Articles on Chewing Gum and Cognitive Performance