Have a monstrous to-do list, but no will power to get it done? Here’s a trick: restore some of your willpower by watching a rerun of your favourite TV show.
A study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science has found that there is a restorative effect in watching familiar and favourite TV, due to the surrogate relationships people have with TV characters. Why a rerun, though? Because if you already know what everyone’s going to say and do, you just need to sit back an enjoy it.
In one test, half the study participants had to list the things in their bedrooms, whereas the other half had to write about an episode of their favourite TV show. Afterwards, both groups had to do a difficult puzzle that required some perseverance. The TV group not only wrote longer, but they also did better on the puzzle.
However, researchers also found that watching a new episode of a familiar TV show didn’t provide the same benefits (presumably because processing new information requires some thought), and binge-watching a whole bunch of TV also doesn’t work (since you’ll be worn out).
So, the next time you’re exhausted, fire up Netflix—you earned it.