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How Winter Weather Affects Your Focus

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The upside to this awful weather? It’s actually making you a better employee. Seriously—bad weather is proven make you work even harder on the task at hand, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. (Don’t let it ruin your workout motivation, though: Your Ultimate Cold-Weather Gear Guide.)

Researchers found that bank workers were more focused and alert on bad weather days rather than good weather days, because there were less cognitive distractions. The logic is simple: When it’s gross outside, you aren’t as distracted by the sunshine and fresh air you’re missing out on in your cube, and your attention, focus, and therefore productivity, are all stronger.

Most studies on workplace productivity assume that distractions can be avoided, like limiting access to certain websites so your employees can’t kill time on Facebook. (Although your boss would really be better off letting you surf the web. Find out why, along with eight other "Time Wasters" That Are Actually Productive.) But this study found that uncontrollable factors, like how perfect today is for the beach, also have a huge impact on employees’ motivation, and should be taken advantage of: Researchers suggest trying to tackle your more clerical tasks on dreary days since it’ll be harder to focus once the sun comes out. (Learn how to structure all your tasks around your most productive hours in The Best Time to Do Everything at Work.)

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