Looking At Nature Makes You More Focused At Work

By the time I've finished writing this story I would have checked Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and my Emails at least once, maybe twice.

As much as we may want to deny it, the constant barrage of notifications that light up our smartphones can be a little distracting.

Science has come up with a surprisingly simple solution to deal with our growing attention deficit: stare at a green roof.

According to a study from the University of Melbourne, images of greenery work better to boost our attention.

They took 150 participants and split them into two groups. One cohort were shown a concrete roof during their micro-breaks while the others could look out to a "flowering meadow green roof."

The results: the "green roof" group made "significantly less errors and demonstrated superior concentration on the second half of the task, compared to those who viewed the concrete roof."

While most of us don't have the luxury of working in an office with a view, the researchers suggested that images of nature could also help boost attention.

Lead researcher Dr Kate Lee, from the University of Melbourne Faculty of Science, said:

We know that green roofs are great for the environment, but now we can say that they boost attention too. Imagine the impact that has for thousands of employees working in nearby offices," Dr Lee said.

"This study showed us that looking at an image of nature for less than a minute was all it took to help people perform better on our task.

What Lee and her team should have included in the study is whether a 40-second micro-break on a smartphone works in the same way as nature.

Surely scrolling through Instagram's offering of mountains and meadows is equally helpful?

Well, we're off to check Instagram in the name of science. We'll strictly be looking at #Greenroof of course.