As a graphic designer, my workweek consists of creative tasks as well as production-related work. In the corporate learning community, the ILG graphics team does its best to make every project engaging for the learner. However, if you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you know that sometimes you have to work on a project where your creativity is limited due to the content and scope, and that can result in a big energy drain. It’s at these times when I find myself wanting to take a mental break. Maybe send a funny picture to my coworkers (there’s a meme for everything!) or getting up for a brief walk around the building.
I recently came across an article in Money — “Watching Cat Videos at Work Could Make You More Productive” — that supports the need for mental breaks, with some of my personally favorite content! Martha C. White writes, “Go ahead and watch that supercut of cats freaking out when they see a cucumber one more time: Scientists say it could make you more productive at work.”
The article goes on to describe the study’s conclusion, “Humor is not only entertaining, but also replenishing. Individuals engaging in activities that require persistence may benefit from exposure to humor.”
Maybe this philosophy should be applied to the learning content we create as well. Learners may benefit from the same humorous break in the middle of viewing an e-learning course. A subtle goofy image, or minor diversion into a short humorous dialogue, can work wonders. Maybe instead of another stock image of a business person, how about inserting this photo instead? This won’t work with all subject matter, but it might be worth a try to liven up dry content.
So, the next time you’re feeling drained, pull up a funny (but brief!) cat video and soak it in. Share it with the person across the hall and spread the chuckles. According to science, it’s good for your health! And, as with all good things, please use humor in moderation. We still have deadlines to meet.