Stupid Internet Videos May Make You More Productive

Consider this permission to visit ICanHasCheezburger at work. A new study shows that wasting time on the Internet actually helps you work better.

In short, the study said, willpower is not infinite: if you overuse it, you’ll run out.

Study participants were asked to watch a video of people passing balls and count the number of passes. But first they were given a distraction: in one group, the participants were shown a 10-minute funny video. In the other group, the participants were shown a screen that said there was a funny video to watch, but please, don’t watch it. For ten minutes, the second group listened to the first group laughing and then all participants watched the ball-passing video.

Those who hadn’t watched the comedy video first made more mistakes–significantly more mistakes!–than those who had goofed off.

The implication, New Yorker writer James Surowiecki says, is that “asking people to regulate their behavior without interruption (by, say, never going online at work) may very well make them less focused and less effective.”

Okay then. Doesn’t that make you feel better about reading this blog?

Publish date: April 4, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT