How Stupid Distractions Can Improve Your Happiness and Focus at Work

Posted on

Consider the following case.

You still haven’t done your large project, which is due today. Even though you’ve been working all morning, it’s taking all of your restraint to keep focused because the assignment is so complicated and you’re feeling so overwhelmed.

Suddenly, you discover a coworker’s amusing cat video in your mailbox. Do you think you should watch it? Or will it cause you to lose focus and fall further behind?

You should definitely do it, according to a recent study by an international team of researchers, because watching a quick humorous video will actually be beneficial to you and help you reset.

Constant self-control requires a lot of energy.

We exercise self-control at work and in other situations where we are required to act against our natural inclinations to feel, think, or conduct.

Vera Schweitzer, a doctorate student at the WHU—Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany, who led the study, defined self-control demands as “any workplace needs that require you to withhold, overrule, or alter your urges or automatic responses in order to adequately complete your work.”

Examples of demands for self-control could be:

How a little happiness may reenergize you without effort

A small dose of positivity, or feeling a good emotion like happiness, aids in recharging your internal reserves.

This is based on a psychology concept known as the “undoing effect” of good emotions, which holds that such feelings help people recover from unpleasant past experiences like self-control demands.

For instance, the joyous sensations you experience after watching a humorous film will assist in the passive restoration of your regulatory resources after several hours of intense work. in order to properly finish your work, all job needs necessitate that you restrain, suppress, or modify your inclinations or spontaneous reactions, according to Vera Schweitzer, a PhD student from California.

Why taking short breaks at work benefits your brain

It can be tempting to forgo brief breaks when we’re under pressure, such as when working under a tight deadline, but small pauses are actually required to maintain your brain functioning properly.

According to Terri Kurtzberg, PhD, a professor of management and international business at Rutgers Business School, Newark and New Brunswick, “humans aren’t constructed for sustained concentration for lengthy periods of time.”

We need to disconnect for a moment to let the mind rest before re-engaging because we “run out of juice,” so to speak.