Cyberloafing

ImageDid you find it a little harder to stay focused at work today even after you had that extra cup of coffee?  You’re not alone.  Today is the least productive Monday of the entire calendar year.  Yes, even less productive than the Monday after Super Bowl when the rate of absenteeism is at its highest.  So, what gives?  Early Sunday morning we lost a coveted hour of sleep to Daylight savings time.  While this may be a welcome sign of spring it wreaks havoc on our productivity.

A study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology measured the loss of productivity by observing the amount of time employees spent “cyberloafing” at work.  “Cyberloafing” is simply time spent surfing the internet for personal persuits not related to work.  Entertainment searches are at their highest the Monday after Daylight savings, according to six years worth of Google data, and an additional 8.4 minutes per work hour is spent “cyberloafing” leading to a 20% loss in work time.

When we are sleep deprived we have a harder time self-regulating our behavior.  Most parents will easily recognize this in their children, but few adults will recognize this shift in themselves.  Unfortunately, these statistics do not only apply to the Monday after Daylight savings.  Every time we lose even 1 hour of sleep, we lose approximately 20% of our daily productivity.  In addition are more easily irritated, we crave carbohydrates as quick energy, and we are more prone to accidents.

So, if you felt particularly crappy today, you weren’t alone. But what can you do to make tomorrow a better day?

Prepare:

  • Make an concerted effort to go to bed EARLY tonight.  Get 8+ hours if you can.
  • Have an electronic fast.  Turn off your TV, put down the phone, get off the computer at least 30 minutes before bed.  This will give your body the time it needs to prepare you for sleep.  Having trouble winding down?  Read a book…remember those?

During the day:

  • Eat breakfast.  Choose a breakfast with a dense protein source, like eggs, and a healthy fat, like avocado, to keep you blood sugar balanced and your energy levels consistent.
  • Take a break.  Even if it is just a 5 minute break, taking a scheduled break can make the next chunk of work devoted time more bearable.
  • Take a walk.  Even a small amount of exercise can revitalize you.  Walk to the bubbler and get yourself a glass of water or better yet, take your walk outside!
  • Take a nap.  A 20 minute nap will increases alertness and productivity for a longer period of time than a cup of coffee.  Close your door, pull the shades and put your head down on the desk like you did in school.  And, if anyone asks what you’re doing, just tell them you are modeling the behavior of JFK and Thomas Edison – two famous nappers!

Read more:

Switch to Daylight Saving Time Leads to Cyberloafing at the Office – Science Daily

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