If you work with folks who question the time you spend “on the clock” perusing and contributing to social media websites / micro-blogging communities like Twitter, you might direct them to Brendan Koerner’s February 2010 article for Wired, “How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive.” Brendan writes:

Studies that accuse social networks of reducing productivity assume that time spent microblogging is time strictly wasted. But that betrays an ignorance of the creative process. Humans weren’t designed to maintain a constant focus on assigned tasks. We need periodic breaks to relieve our conscious minds of the pressure to perform — pressure that can lock us into a single mode of thinking. Musing about something else for a while can clear away the mental detritus, letting us see an issue through fresh eyes, a process that creativity researchers call incubation. “People are more successful if we force them to move away from a problem or distract them temporarily,” observe the authors of Creativity and the Mind, a landmark text in the psychology and neuroscience of creativity. They found that regular breaks enhance problem-solving skills significantly, in part by making it easier for workers to sift through their memories in search of relevant clues.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: wryonedwards

This certainly jives with my experiences at Google’s offices in Boulder, Colorado, last summer for the Google Teacher Academy. Google doesn’t provide access to a climbing wall, console game systems, foosball tables, and more to its employees because these “temptations” would reduce productivity. Quite the contrary, Google leaders understand hard as well as creative work demands periodic mind breaks.

Google Office in Boulder, Colorado

You deserve a break today. Tweet on. 🙂

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