Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Work Wise - Adventures in Ambidexterity

Last week, I told you about my experiment with a Stand-up workstation. I've found that standing up while working has really changed my perspective. If nothing else, at least I'm not falling asleep at my desk...

Along these same lines, I'm always looking for ways to break up the monotony of the work day in corporate America. One of the ways I do this is by regularly switching the hands that control my mouse and dial the phone. I use my mouse for several hours each day and I dial between 125 and 200 calls daily.

I am naturally right hand dominant and it feels most comfortable using my right hand to dial a phone and guide the mouse at my computer. However, I have found that I can be much more efficient by using one hand to control the mouse and the other to dial the telephone. An interesting way for me to continually liven things up (and keep myself on my toes) is to periodically swap my phone and my mouse to opposite sides of my desk. On January 2nd of this year, I moved my phone to the left side and the mouse to the right. Friday of last week, I reversed them. I love doing this as it forces me to be present in the moment and concentrate on what I am doing.

I began doing this a few years ago after reading an article suggesting that you may potentially improve brain function by using your non-dominant hand to perform common, every day tasks. Several studies claim that new neural pathways are created when a "righty" goes "southpaw" a few studies argued that this change to your routine unlocks the creative potential of the right side of your brain.

I've always looked for ways to be artistic in everything I do (especially the banal, robotic routines of daily life). The notion that you could stimulate creativity or tap into your artistic right-brain more easily by simply using your left hand to move your mouse or dial the phone was incredibly appealing to me. 

My takeaway from this experiment is that it resembles the placebo effect: I find myself being more creative and artistic in my approach because I have the expectation that I am activating another part of my brain this way. If I am more creative or more artistic as the result of dialing the phone with my left hand, then it is irrelevant if science can prove that there is a correlation. 

Click here for a great article that goes into greater depth and explores some of the science and research that's been done on the topic.

What has been your experience? I'd love to hear from somebody who has tried this experiment. Or, maybe you're inspired to try it… Let us know how it goes.