Time wasting tips are a complete waste of time
The same result can be achieved in a less antisocial way by counting back from 100 in sevens. I’ve just taken a break from this paragraph to try this and can report it is just hard enough to be quite fun and leaves you feeling agreeably virtuous. In my next break I plan to count backwards from 200 in 13s. I’m rather looking forward to it.
For the emotional lift, McGonigal wants us to stare at pictures of baby animals. I have never understood all the mooing over puppies and kittens that goes on, but have given it a go just now. Much to my shame – and surprise – I found myself grinning stupidly at a picture of a yellow Labrador puppy.
As a further test, I’ve shown the picture to a hard-bitten colleague. “Ahhh,” he said, the blank look on his face replaced by a beatific smile.
But puppies alone are not enough. We do not just need good emotion, McGonigal says, we need a sprinkling of bad, in a ratio of three to one. This is where Angry Birds comes in. I’ll have to take her word for this: I do not dare go down that road for fear of never coming back again.
Instead, I’ve tried another way of achieving the right emotional balance by looking at one picture of Jimmy Savile to every three of puppies.
I’m not sure this was a good idea. I now feel sick and have had to take another break and go to the vending machine for a Kit Kat to remove the taste.
When it comes to time-wasting that boosts us socially, the best way, McGonigal says, is to shake hands with someone for a full six seconds, which is meant to lift our oxytocin levels.
I have just tried pumping the hand of my office spouse while he timed it on his mobile. When I finally let go he said he wasn’t sure about his oxytocin but he did feel he had just been the victim of harassment.
Just when I was thinking of adopting those of McGonigal’s tips I rather like, and substituting more puppies and counting backwards, for the vortex of Twitter – I have just noticed the following sentence: “I’ve made it a personal goal to waste at least four minutes every hour.”
Four minutes? As one who can waste four hours at a stretch, I have no option but to reject out of hand all advice from such a hopeless amateur.
– (The Financial Times Limited)