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productivity

If scrolling through pictures of cute puppies and happy goats gives you that warm fuzzy feeling you’re not alone.

It can be so easy to get lost in all the big eyes and fluffy tails, but don't worry, you're actually doing yourself a favour. 

New research has revealed that this enjoyable pastime can actually make you more productive.

Yep.

Researchers at Hiroshima University showed three groups people a series of images before asking them to complete a task similar to the board game Operation.

The first group were shown pictures of delicious food, the second were shown photographs of fully grown animals while the third group were shown images of baby animals.

Turns out the group exposed to the cute and cuddly bay animal pictures actually outperformed the other when it came to dropping the tiny body part into the holes.

Now for the science. According to Red Online, the researchers behind the study explained that human are naturally programmed to be more alert when their nurturing instincts are stimulated – which actually makes a lot of sense.

Scientist, Simon Watt explained to the BBC: 'Human babies are born too early to be independent and so we have evolved as a species to make nurturing them one of our priorities.’’

‘’Caring for babies not only involves tenderness but also requires vigilance against possible threats.’’

So, scroll away till your heart's content, and if your boss says anything, just tell them it's actually been proven to increase productivity! 

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Finally! Some sound advice that gives us loads of reasons to get back into bed and snuggle up under the duvet.

Between work, school and college, most of us unfortunately don’t have the time to pop home during the day to take a comfortable nap. And besides, even if we did the chances are there would be SOMEONE nearby telling us to get out of bed.

But a daytime nap doesn’t need to be hours long. In fact, naps from as little as 15 minutes can help in a big way.

Here are five different napping durations and the benefits of each one.

15 to 20 minutes

These great little power naps work wonders for boosting your alertness and concentration. So if you feel your eyelids getting heavy in the middle of studying or a work day, it may be a good idea to sneak off somewhere for 15 minutes and you’ll be raring to go by the time you get back.

30 minutes

A half an hour snooze can counteract the negative effects that we suffer after a bad night’s sleep.

45 minutes

Sleeping for those extra few minutes can actually help to improve your memory and lower blood pressure.

60 minutes

An hour’s shut eye can improve your working memory and will allow you to be as energetic for the second half of your day as you were for the first – great if you have an hour to spare between work and going out to an event.

90 minutes

Of course the problem here is actually finding the time. But if you can, an hour and a half of sleep during the day can help to restore energy and relax your muscles. 

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If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter to finish an essay or study for an exam, you’ll know that sometimes we can have superhuman powers when working under pressure. Five hours to write 5,000 words? No problem!

When you’ve no choice but to work quickly and focus on the task at hand, it’s amazing how much you can get done. Looming deadlines, though stressful, can act as fuel for our brain. When you’ve no choice but to get a project finished in the next two hours, well… you’ll more than likely find a way to get it done.

That’s how it is for some of us, anyways. Others might recoil at the thought of cramming so much work into such a small space of time. Where’s the mental preparation? The careful planning? The structured schedule?!

We all work differently. Your colleague at the next desk over might seem to fly through her work each day, while you struggle to fit in the bare minimum. Neither method is necessarily a bad way to get work done – but ideally we should try to strike a balance between the two.

Author John Perry coined the term “structured procrastination” – the art of getting things done by simply not doing other things. If your to-do list is too big it can seem endless, and you’re more likely to get overwhelmed and spend 20 precious minutes browsing Facebook to take your mind off things. If you can prioritise tasks realistically and only plan to do today what really, absolutely, most definitely needs to be done, you’re taking the pressure off yourself. Try to leave work or college every day knowing your top priority for the following day. That way you know what tomorrow will bring and you can focus on that Number One task before other things get in the way.

Research shows that one in five people are “chronic procrastinators.” That doesn’t mean that those people never get any work done, rather it means that they really are not motivated to do a task until it absolutely has to be done. If that sounds like you, try to use that knowledge to enhance your productivity. Divide each day up into realistic slots, with deadlines for each project or piece of work. If you have to set a timer or an alarm – do it. Your brain will be prodded into action for each new task – and there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with periodically ticking each item off your list.

Each of us has different limits and levels of output. The key is to balance what we want to get done, with what we realistically can get done. By understanding the distinction between those two things, you’ll find things become far more manageable. 

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