So its another one of those days where Thursday has rolled around and I haven't spent one moment prior to this thinking about what to write for this week's blog post. I just want to look at cute pictures of baby animals, maybe watch a funny cat video, color in my coloring book and take a nap. That's what we do on our days off, right? Well, it rarely happens that way for me but that's what I WANT to do.
I recently saw an attention-grabbing post claiming that looking at pictures of cute baby animals helps you focus. Well, focus isn't really what I'm struggling with today, its more of a motivation issue brought on by general overwork and end of summer/beginning of school busy-ness, but perhaps they're linked. I have long heard the cry of folks like myself that, when they know they have to do actual adult stuff like work, would much rather just watch cute cat videos or look at pictures of cute baby animals on Pinterest, somehow falling into the loss of time continuum that is Pinterest and not getting anything done. This study would suggest, however, that looking at those cute baby animals doing cute baby animal stuff might actually improve your focus when you return to the menial task at hand. So, could this be the solution?
Well, let's not get too excited for possible permission to spend a long time looking at cute baby animals. Scheduling, something any client of mine quickly finds out, is something I swear by. If I know I have to do something that is menial, tedious, boring, or just generally unpleasant, I can schedule this unpleasnat task and sandwich it or layer it between pleasant activities that then almost turn into a "reward" for doing the unpleasant thing. If I have to write this post, vacuum, pull weeks, or do some homework, I can schedule to do that activity for just 10 minutes then I'll get to take a break for 5 minutes and watch some funny cat videos or look at cute puppy pictures before returning to the unpleasant task for another 10 minutes. I can keep alternating unpleasant with pleasant all day long until I have completed the unpleasant task(s).
The claim about the cute kitten pictures also reminded me of the days when I was preparing to go back to school and choosing school supplies. My favorite binders, folders, and notebooks were ones that were adorned with... cute baby animals! I remember buying posters from the Scholastic flyer several times a year with, what else but pictures of cute baby animals! When I was shopping last week with my daughter for school supplies, I noticed that some of these items are still popular--you can still get spiral notebooks with cute baby animals on the covers--so perhaps, if your kids are still young enough or at an age where they're old enough that its returned to "cool", these things might be just the thing to help your child focus at school. They can close their notebook for a few moments and look at the cute baby animal on the cover before returning to their work. The study suggests that it might be just the thing to help them focus.
Perhaps its because I spent so much time as a teacher in various capacities, but I still love notebooks and school supplies and I sometimes even choose items from the school supply section for myself. I could choose a notebook with a cute baby animal on the cover to use as a journal for my personal reflections. Or I could use it as a place to write down my mileage in my car. Or I could use it for a place to draw out my schedule for the day! Then, the cute baby animals are right there to help me return to my focus.
So, use this post to give yourself permission to take a "looking at cute kittens will help me focus" break from the tasts you need to accomplish today. Just use these cute baby animal pictures wisely--don't get caught in the worm-hole that can be the internet when you're using it to distract yourself from your necessary duties. Set a timer and alternate it with the stuff you actually have to do today and perhaps it will be a little easier, you'll accomplish more, and you'll do it more effectively.