Go ahead and let your gaze look out that window while you work. If you get caught, tell your boss that you’re just getting ready to be more productive!
The challenge: Can looking at nature—even just a scenic screen saver—really improve your focus? How much can 40 seconds of staring at grass actually help? Ms. Lee, defend your research.
Lee: We implicitly sense that nature is good for us, and there has been a lot of research into its extensive social, health, and mental benefits and the mechanisms through which they occur. Our findings suggest that engaging in these green microbreaks—taking time to look at nature through the window, on a walk outside, or even on a screen saver—can be really helpful for improving attention and performance in the workplace.
Stressed about not getting enough done at work? Don’t be. It turns out that you can improve how much you get things done at the office by not thinking about it. Turn your attention elsewhere and focus on things that do matter instead.
But, how can performance at work improve with less attention paid to it? There are several reasons:
- Clearer focus on results that really matter to the people around you.
- Less wasted effort on activities that aren’t that important.
- Reduced psychological interference across domains as a result of being less distracted, because you’re taking care of critical needs in those other parts.
- A virtuous cycle of benefits from one part of your life spilling over to other parts; for example, greater confidence, less crankiness, and a stronger sense of control.
Teresa Amabile is a professor at Harvard Business School who has researched diary keeping and has made a very nifty realization: even keeping a few thoughts a day can amount to huge differences in happiness. I use I Done This to track my days, perhaps you’d like to too after watching this video:
Via the Atlantic.