News Stories

Wasting Time--A Good Thing?

"Haste makes waste"--it's an old adage, but it turns out to be true: Our brains make more mistakes when we act too quickly. Because the brain must make snap decisions based on less information than it uses for slower decisions, the likelihood that it will make mistakes increases.

A new study shows that the brain actually switches into a special mode when pushed to make rapid decisions.

Neuroscientist Richard Heitz says, "This is a question that is very basic to our experience as human beings, and something that we encounter on a daily basis. If we can understand how our brain changes when we are pushed to respond faster, we have gone a long way toward understanding the decision-making process in general."

Neuroscientist Jeffrey Schall says, "Haste makes waste when a mistake entails dire consequences. But there are many situations in life when the cost of not acting is higher than making an error in judgment. For example, if the decision is whether or not to shut down a nuclear reactor in the presence of a potential meltdown, I’d prefer haste."

"I have made it a personal goal to waste at least four minutes every hour."

That's a quote from video game designer Jan McGonigal, quoted by Lucy Kellaway in the November 5th edition of the Financial Times. Meanwhile, Kellaway herself has decided to take control of her time by giving up computer games, but worries that she'll just "waste time on other things, mainly Twitter and eBay."

McGonigal insists that a short time every day playing video games can make us more flexible, which is surely an asset in times like these, when everyone from politicians to business people seem unwilling to compromise.

Taking a break is not always a time waster: Kellaway writes: "Getting up from our desks and going for a walk shakes us out of our physical torpor."

That makes sense, but McGonigal also says that we can increase our willpower by snapping our fingers exactly 50 times, and for an emotional life, we should stare at pictures of baby animals.

But the best kind of time wasting builds social bonds: shaking hands with someone for a full six seconds raises our oxytocin levels (oxytocin is the "bonding" hormone).

Personally, we don't consider the internet a waste of time of any sort--as long as it's not spewing propaganda, and here at unknowncountry.com, we make sure it DOESN'T. We pride ourselves on telling you the truth--and we CORRECT OURSELVES if we're wrong! We tell you the truth about UFOs too--(NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this incredible interview), and we're one of the FEW places to do so. If that's the kind of website YOU want to "waste time with," subscribe to this site today!



Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now