Daylight Savings Time and “Cyberloafing”

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New research suggests that people “cyberloaf” (i.e. websurf instead of working) more when they are tired. Some people may find this surprising. (We do not.) If nothing else, this is another argument against Daylight Savings Time. As the BPS Research Digest explains:

The investigators recognised an event that affects everyone’s sleep: when the clocks go forward for Daylight Saving Time. Prior evidence suggests we lose on average 40 minutes of sleep per night following the switch, as our body rhythms struggle to adjust. (Exploiting a fixed phenomena is an example of a quasi-experiment; another would be the hurricane that occurred within this study on emotional hangovers.) The researchers used data from 203 metropolitan areas in the USA, weighted by area size, across 2004-2009. They found that Entertainment-related searches on the Monday after DST were 3.1% more prevalent than the previous Monday, and 6.4% than the subsequent Monday.

The research adds on to an existing body of work on willpower as a limited resource, which we’ve blogged about before.

Open question: does reading Freakonomics at work count as cyberloafing?  

We’ll keep an eye out for a traffic increase on Monday.

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  1. Redlefty says:

    Of course I’ll go into self-defense mode and claim that this site isn’t cyberloafing, and is instead a logically diverse set of reading material from my normal business-related research, which may lead to creative breakthroughs that will benefit my employer.

    But I will confess that it doesn’t exactly take a lot of my willpower to visit the blog regularly…

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  2. Enter your name... says:

    What would it take to get rid of this clock-changing exercise? I don’t care whether we end up on “standard” or “daylight” time, just so long as we can pick one and stick with it.

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  3. RZ says:

    Not surprising at all. I find that when I’m tired, I’m more easily distracted at work and much less likely to be productive.

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  4. Scott says:

    Not an argument against DST but an argument against the switch from DST to EST and vice versa yearly. We need to pick which time is better for year round and stay there.

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  5. rth says:

    This is not an argument against daylight saving time. It is an argument against turning our clocks ahead an hour every spring and back an hour in the fall. We could choose to make daylight saving time the standard and leave it.

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  6. Chris Callahan says:

    I never check out the Freakonomics blog when not Cyberloafing. Embrace it! :)

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  7. CRC says:

    I am cyberloafing right now.

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  8. MichealObama says:

    There’s no reason to be adjusting our clocks twice a year. Pick one and stay with it.


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