Go ahead and read this blog post without any guilt. Chances are you'll be more productive afterwards. A new study found that wasting time on the internet can serve as a stress-relieving break from work, more so than making phone calls and sending texts. Time magazine's Techland blog describes the work of J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G Lim, of the National University of Singapore as such:
Chen and Lim assigned 96 undergraduate students the task of highlighting letter e's in sample text. A third of the students worked for 30 minutes with no break. Another third worked for 20 minutes, then took a 10-minute break that allowed any activity except browsing the web, then worked for another 10 minutes. The last group used its 10-minute break only to browse the web.
Turns out, the group that spent a quarter of its time on the Internet was better at its job overall than the other two groups. They also reported lower levels of boredom and exhaustion. A second study that surveyed 191 adults found similar results.
Of course the problem is limiting internet breaks to small intervals. Everyone knows Twitter and YouTube can be a huge time-suck when usage is unrestricted. (Who hasn't said, "I'm just going to watch one more cat video, I swear?") It's getting back to work that's ultimately the hard part. Now if only there was a meme that could solve that.