I don’t just mean a simple craving. No, this is something different. Something that “owns” you as my pastor once described the cookies his mother in law made that “called” to him in the middle of the night until he got up and ate them all.
This is not something you just like to have. This is that thing that you can’t know is there and not go for it. I’m talking about that thing that even when you don’t really want it, you want it.
It could be a serious daily addiction, or as in my case, just something that’s best not to have in the house unless you’re ready for a binge.
Why am I thinking of this tonight? Well, one reason is that my husband came home with a can of Pringles yesterday and I now find myself eating several despite the fact that I just got back from a great dinner with friends and I’m not at all hungry.
The other is that, while eating them, I read this article from The New Yorker titled “In Praise of Distraction.” It’s about how blocking employees from the distractions of the Internet at work may actually be detrimental to their ability to get work done.
It looks at several different scientific studies that point to our inability to concentrate on a task when we know of a distraction that is within our grasp, but is forbidden. They note that “asking people to regulate their behavior without interruption (by, say, never going online at work) may very well make them less focussed and less effective.”
While many team managers may loathe the idea of having to take responsibility for actively managing how their employees spend their time, rather than letting IT firewalls do it for them. And many IT managers may seek only to save their organizations money by saving bandwidth rather than worrying they’re watching too many cute kitten videos. They may both actually be standing in the way of their company’s growth.
Sure, too many Oreos are bad for me. And, I know I can’t keep them around the house on a regular basis. But, there’s no getting around the fact that we all know the distractions of the Internet are right there every time we’re on a computer – there’s just no way to keep it out of the house.
So, don’t expect your employees to be able to resist and don’t expect them to be more productive if you try to tell them they can’t go get it out of the pantry. Instead, allow for it, and actively manage it to ensure it doesn’t become a problem.
Image via Creative Commons by mihoda