Follow Whims, Increase Productivity?
Well good for you! When you listen to your whims, you often increase your productivity.
James Surowiecki writes in the New Yorker about the benefits of distraction, and cites some interesting studies which conclude that a worker’s impulse to take a break is typically aligned with an organization’s pursuit of higher output. Consider this:
A new study, done at the University of Copenhagen, asked participants to perform a simple task—watch videos of people passing balls and count the number of passes. … One group of participants had a funny video [first] come up on their screens; the rest saw a message telling them that a funny video was available if they clicked a button, but they were told not to watch it. … The curious result was that those who hadn’t watched the comedy video made significantly more mistakes than those who had.
Turns out that following rules can sometimes be more problematic than following personal desire–in this case, to watch a humorous video.
To be sure, we’re not advocating the total disregard of organizational policies in favor of doing whatever you wish. We’re thinking critically about how to match your internal drives with workplace realities, knowing it’s almost always possible to find a fit.
Sometimes, our brain needs a rest to process abundant or complicated data. Time reported on a study about our brains at rest by neuroscientist Lila Davachi at New York University. “Your brain is doing work for you even when you’re resting,” says Davachi. “Taking a rest may actually contribute to your success at work or school,” she adds.
So don’t feel bad about taking a short respite from the daily grind to read Workplace Nudity. Rest assured, you and your place of work will be better off.
What benefits of resting on the job have you experienced?
Date: April 24, 2011