Ear this: Your secret workplace survival trick is now public knowledge!
Ulrika Leons, a health care psychologist, says that plugging in your earphones can ward off unwanted distraction. But we already knew that!
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At the start of every workday, we arm ourselves with a few imperative weapons.
A bottle of tepid water
And now, the work starts.
While coffee is very (very) important for us to be able to function normally through the day, it still comes a close second to earphones — the mother of all weapons.
For a pair of earphones will get you through the apocalypse!
Earphones. Steady. Go. (Photo: Wake Up Sid/screengrab)
Annoying colleagues who want to share irrelevant life details with you can be kept at bay if you just have your earphones plugged in.
The maddening hum of chitchatting from other teams that resonate in your brain cells can be ignored with the said pair of earphones.
And the best part is — you don’t really have to be listening to anything. All you need to do is make people around you think you are.
Unfortunately, though, this secret is no secret at all anymore — thanks to a study by Ulrika Leons, a health care psychologist.
In a study that aims at figuring out ways to combat burnout — a concern plaguing the urban population across the globe — Leons found that ‘zoning out’ or ensuring that your brain is in an idle state, even if it is for just 10 minutes, helps reduce stress. Most often, on a regular office day, that’s not happening.
What’s happening instead is just plain noise all around you, making your mind work in overdrive to ensure you’re concentrating on your work. Add to that chatty co-workers and you have a recipe for disaster.
"If someone distracts you, it can take somewhere between five and 25 minutes for you to fully focus your attention on your task again. It takes energy to switch between tasks all the time. If this happens all day long, you'll be exhausted by the time you go home," Leons told Business Insider.
Now you know what we’re talking about.
Take heed: Burnout is plaguing the urban population. But little steps could help you avoid it. (Photo: Wake Up Sid/screengrab)
Leons suggests that wearing earphones, therefore, can send a signal that you’re busy, whether or not you’re listening to something. Even if you’re fake listening to something, ‘plugged in’ can be sort of like a ‘do not disturb’ sign that you can agree upon with your colleagues.
Tiny other changes to your work schedule can also help you de-stress, and thus, avoid burnout. For example, don’t take your phone to the washroom, avoid reading from your phone or tablet while you’re waiting in the bus queue, or tell yourself you will not Netflix and chill beyond, say, 10 pm.
Now, we’re not sure how much the latter stuff can be implemented IRL, but the earphone trick was working until the research ended up outing us! And a gem of a ploy lost forever.
Oh, well. We’ll just have to find another way to ‘look busy’.
At least, we still have coffee.