The Productivity Perks of Cat Memes (Yes, Seriously)

Admit it: you’ve spent a few minutes at your desk clicking through cat memes instead of actually doing the work you’re supposed to be doing.

That isn’t exactly a bad thing, despite what your boss thinks. Checking out cat memes and appreciating the hilarity of a good cat photo, or even the cuteness of a cat picture, is a method of fidgeting. It lets you enjoy just enough of a distraction, then motivates and reengages you with your mundane work.

And cat memes work as a great fidget. Whether you laugh, awww, or simply smile at the cat memes appearing in your Instagram, Facebook, iFunny, or other social media feed, you’re making yourself more productive.

This is one of my all-time favorite productivity tricks. I learned about it while researching and writing Fidget! last summer and I’ve wholeheartedly clung to it ever since.

Here’s how it works. According to researchers at Hiroshima University, students who took a time out from their workload to view pictures of cute, furry animals (cats were included, obviously) were more productive when they returned to the task at hand. The students, after seeing those heart-warming animal babies, paid better attention to detail, mastered minuscule tasks, and were more engaged with their work.

I’m not the only one who thinks adorable kittens and hilarious cat fails make me more productive and engaged with my work. The Washington Post recommended it way back in 2012. Don’t enjoy memes? Try a different approach — one that still involves cats, though. Time suggests viewing cat videos instead of mere pictures in a 2016 article. No matter how you enjoy your internet cats, the proof is in the results.

Check out kittens (or puppies, if you’re a dog person; no discrimination here!) when you find your mind wandering and distraction creeping up on you. The few seconds you spend enjoying cats at play, jumping, stealing food, or doing absolutely anything will allow you to regain your focus and improve your productivity. You’ll actually become more attentive and get more done, all thanks to cats.

Give it a try right now! Here’s a picture of my incredibly sassy and hilarious cat, Minnie:

Minnie the Cat in sink
Isn’t Minnie cute?! / Heather Fishel

See, don’t you feel better? Just thinking of Minnie’s perfect eyeliner (I know, it’s really weird for a cat) is already making you a better worker, whether you’re tackling chores or typing at your desk.

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