WORKPLACE / DEC. 11, 2015
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Watching Cat Videos at Work Makes You More Productive

Boring day at work? What can you do about it? Instead of checking your Facebook timeline every half hour, you could be doing something more productive like watching funny cat videos, or cute little babies on YouTube. While this sounds too good to be true, research has shown that watching videos while at work can boost your performance and make you more efficient.

See Also: 10 Ways to Kill Time and Get Paid for it

In fact, watching cat videos has more benefits than you think and it isn’t just entertaining. A study conducted by Jessica Gall Myrick, an Indiana University Media School researcher shows that watching cats has a huge impact on your overall mood as it boosts your energy and positive emotions. As such, it decreases the negative feelings that you experience as well as job stress.

More specifically, amongst the 7,000 survey participants, the majority said that:

  • They felt more energetic and positive after watching cat-related online content.
  • They experienced fewer negative emotions including sadness, anxiety and irritability.
  • They view cats on the web while they are working or studying.
  • They were not guilty of procrastinating as long as they were watching cat videos.

The researcher said that “even if they [viewers] are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward.” This meant that the pleasure viewers got from watching cat videos was much greater than the amount of guilt they felt for doing it while at work.

Myrick also found that the response to watching cat videos was welcomed by people who regarded themselves as ‘cat people’ (36 percent) and by those who like both cats and dogs (60 percent). The results showed that watching cat videos could be used as a form of a pet therapy for people who often suffer from high level of stress or even depression.

The reason people are more likely to watch cat videos while they are working or studying is that they in desperate need of a break. In their attempt to lighten their mood or get the motivation they need to resume work they often feel that they need to change their focus even for a while before they can move onto the next task. Scientists have said that this makes perfect sense, and chances are you have all been there.   

In fact, they say that this has much to do with the way your brain functions. You can’t work for straight 8 hours a day and even if you managed to pull this off, you wouldn’t be giving 100 percent. Your brain can’t function properly unless you take a break at every one and a half hours (90 minutes). So perhaps you will consider watching videos as your mini breaks from work. As it turns out, science has your back so you need to stop feeling guilty about it.

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In fact on a wider scope, taking breaks has three important benefits:

It helps you stay focused

Despite common belief that taking breaks may ruin your flow, science backs up the concept that brief interruptions at work e.g. watching videos or taking a walk from your desk to the kitchen; will help you stay focused on your work. It gives your brain some time to think at its own pace and relax.

It helps you connect the dots

When you are not frying your brain, your mind gets into the daydreaming zone, and that is where the real magic happens. As studies have shown, the mind can solve even the trickiest of problems when it is in this relaxed state, and this is most likely to happen when you are taking a bath, driving or watching funny videos.

It helps you re-evaluate your goals

Taking regular breaks at work makes you take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture. In helps you re-evaluate your short-term goals and think about the things you need to do, even helping you to complete your day-to-day targets.

See Also: Why Playing Video Games at Work Makes You More Productive

You to take breaks just as much as you need to work. So what better way to do it than by watching videos? The next time your boss catches you watching cat videos at work, you should tell him it’s for a good cause. But you also might want to take a moment and explain why you are doing it and list all the benefits.

Do you watch videos at work? If yes, has this helped you in any way or not? Let me know in the comments section below…

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