In our earlier article we talked about the power of the ideas that sound obvious. In a culture where innovative, out of the box thinking is encouraged to the extent of ignoring the basics, the simple, effortless obvious ideas are often the ones which actually push discussions and brainstorming sessions further. Building up on it and continuing on this line of thinking about the obvious, we dug up two other insights, backed by research of course, which remind us about the power of obvious and seemingly counterintuitive ideas.
Such ideas seem like they might not work well, and might hinder productivity and motivation. But ‘countering the intuitive’, sometimes, these are the kind of ideas that might give the necessary push needed to get things done.
So, let us take a look at them quickly!
Complaining can (sometimes) be Productive:
As suggested in one of our earlier articles, suppressing negative emotions can actually lead one to be demotivated and unproductive. Picking on it and narrowing it down further, complaining can actually lead one to think in the right direction.
Generally, the work culture doesn’t encourage complaining. Whenever we find ourselves complaining, we tend to catch our thoughts and remind ourselves to be grateful about all the other possibilities. Research by Harvard Business Review, and as quoted by an article by Growth Partners Consulting suggests how teams which engage in complaining once in a while actually perform better. They often engage in complaining, or as the article puts it ‘visiting Pity City’ and that actually helps them because of,
‘…the safety they feel with each other and how these behaviours build relatedness within the team, an important psychological need for motivation.’
Sometimes, you just need to get the complaints out of the way, out of system to move on to finding solutions, instead of letting those thoughts become unwanted pieces of furniture in your mind. Venting a little might let the others who might be feeling similarly know that they aren’t alone, enhancing the sense of relatedness, teamwork and team-chemistry.
So obvious when we think about it, but that is the thing with these ideas- they hide in plain sight. Just like the next one.
Working Endlessly Doesn’t (Necessarily) Lead to Getting More Work Done:
It is almost as if we take pride in ourselves when we think we have been working endlessly. We clock in the number of hours and we feel the kick of being productive. Some of us even blame others for not working hard enough when they don’t get the desired results, and hard work equals to long hours, right? Long hours equal to getting more work done, right? Well, not always.
Research by Human Performance Institute shows that taking frequent breaks- not working endlessly for long hours- can lead to more productivity. In fact, they have also named the phenomenon; they call it ‘oscillation’, the time we spend strategically to recover from stress. Oscillation is done to ‘shift between energy expenditure (stress) and restoring energy (recovery).’ The article cited above tells us further,
‘It sounds elementary but the research is undeniable. Taking short, intermitted breaks throughout the day enables our body and mind to recover from this energy expenditure. As a result, we make better decisions, think more critically, and prioritize effectively. We are more productive when we take breaks.’
Be it the Pomodoro technique which tells us to work with intense focus for 25 minutes, and then take a break, or the 80/20 rule, which says how 80 percent of output can come from only 20 percent of causes, suggesting that we work smarter and not harder, there are multiple examples of models which show that oscillating between periods of intense focus and refreshing breaks can work better instead of toiling endlessly.
Be it the surprising power of the obvious, or the quiet sense of relatedness that complaining leads to, or the underrated activity of taking rest, the seemingly counterintuitive insights are often the ones that can lead to more motivation, productivity and work satisfaction, countering the notions that entrench the contemporary work culture.