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  • 11.04.14

8 Of Your Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For Your Health And Productivity

Don’t kick these guilty pleasures just yet.

8 Of Your Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For Your Health And Productivity
[Photo: Flickr user Thomas van de Weerd]

You’re antsy in meetings, browsing Facebook throughout the day, and are partially responsible for that hilarious cat video’s viral status.

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You need to kick these bad habits to be more productive right? Maybe not.

These habits seem like signs of a disengaged, distracted employee, but in the right doses, they can do more good than harm.

1. Keeping A Messy Desk

This isn’t an excuse to keep bills and invoices strewn among junk mail and coupons; a busy desk doesn’t have to be an organizational disaster. But keeping your space charmingly cluttered–with things that inspire you, or in a way that allows all of your materials to stay readily at hand–has been proven to encourage more creativity than a tidy space.

If the clutter becomes distracting, here’s a handy guide for paring down the mess. Until then, embrace the chaos.

2. Posting To Social Media

Your boss likely won’t appreciate your scrolling through Facebook and Twitter all day, but posting updates on projects and putting goals in the public eye makes you more accountable. “If you have an important goal you want to achieve, announce it on Twitter and Facebook so others can keep you accountable and cheer you on,” writes Beth Burgess, for Lifehack. And if you don’t follow through, the stakes are higher for feeling embarrassed.

3. Wasting Time On YouTube

Next time someone sends you an adorable mashup of cats chasing lazer pointers, watch it guilt-free. “Cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work,” Hiroshima University researchers wrote for their study, “The Power of Kawaii.” In other words: Cuteness brings out warm-and-fuzzy feelings, and that’s good for your work.

4. Fidgeting During Meetings

Tapping a pencil, shifting your feet, doodling and glancing around–are you bored, or stimulating your own creativity? Instead of zoning out during an especially long and droll PowerPoint presentation, stay in the moment by moving around, even slightly.

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5. Gossiping With Coworkers

If you plug your ears and sing “la la la” when a coworker comes to you with a juicy piece of gossip, you could be missing out on useful information about how the company’s culture works. Tearing people down professionally, or speculating about personal lives, is unprofessional and isolating. When the talk around the water cooler is positive, however, studies show that a good gossip-swap boosts mood for hours after.

6. Swearing Like You Mean It

“Swedish scientists have revealed that employees who suffer unfair treatment at work, and don’t find ways to express their anger, double their risk of having a heart attack,” Besson reports. “Researchers at the University of East Anglia found that swearing at work helps employees to cope with stress and frustration, and cursing can encourage team spirit.” So go ahead and drop an F-bomb or two today–in the right company, of course.

7. Hitting The Snooze Button

There are few moments more stressful on a workday than waking up naturally, to sun blazing in your windows, and realizing you’ve overslept. Don’t beat yourself up too much–you’re just doing your heart a favor. Research shows that people who wake before 5 a.m. may put themselves at risk for cardiovascular disease, even if they’re getting enough sleep. The most restorative sleep happens between 2 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. We’re looking at you, managers who schedule 8 a.m meetings.

8. Daydreaming

Wistful staring out the windows isn’t a waste of time. Taking the focus off a stressful problem can bring the solution faster, like the ideas you get in the shower or right before bed. “The reason why daydreaming is so powerful is that the thoughts you have come from your unconscious mind,” Burgess writes. Read more about the power of daydreams, here.

[h/t: Lifehack]

About the author

Former Tweets, words, and editorial support for Fast Company Leadership. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.

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