I love cooking videos. Any cooking video, no matter which recipe, is prime material to distract an ordinarily hyper-focused person from the task at hand. At this point, I’ve probably spent hours of my life watching sped-up hands crack eggs, fold meringue, and slap sprinkles onto a perfectly smooth surface of frosting. Besides the fact that these videos are addictingly paced and make the viewer super hungry, why am I able to watch so many of these videos—often times over and over again, because for some reason I have a hard time determining when they start to loop—without feeling incredibly guilty about how they’re ruining my productivity?
I present to you: the art of productive distraction.
There are times in any student’s academic career when they just know that they should be spending their time in a better way. Instead of scrolling down Tumblr, they should be doing homework. Instead of wading in the Kokosing, they should be reviewing for an exam. There is a way, though, to satisfy your need for, quite simply, not doing schoolwork, by doing something both relaxing and informative. For me, this is where cooking videos come into the equation.
Most of the time, I just take in the transformation of ingredients to food. Sometimes, I’ll send it to my mom or tag her in the comments as a subtle suggestion to add that recipe to my wishlist for Thanksgiving break. Every cooking video, though, has a little nugget or two of information that everyone can use when they cook. For example, when my mom had a minor surgery and requested that I make her vegetable soup, I didn’t have to look up a recipe! Instead, I accessed the treasure trove of cooking tips compiled in the recesses of my mind; this is a place that stores thoughts that usually never see the light of day. However, I can conjure up what I’ve learned in these easily-digestible cooking videos in my everyday life, and I’ve found that those tidbits are actually very useful. I don’t mean totally to neglect the intended purpose of cooking videos (to which I’ve also succumbed): following the recipe and making the food. By using the tips that I gather from my fun little distractions, my mind has decided that these videos aren’t totally detrimental—they can actually be productive. To me, this is the highest, most sophisticated form of distraction. Finding something that satisfies both the desire to take a break from your work while presenting an opportunity to pick up a new skill or tip is the ideal that we should look for when it comes to material that we use to avoid our responsibilities.
Cooking videos, all in all, are my way of distracting myself in a productive manner. However, this kind of distraction is different for everyone. Many of my friends like to doodle, which is a great way to better your art skills instead of focusing on your more pressing deadlines! (The same goes for coloring books.) I even know some people (including myself, at times) who will actually clean their room to put off a more intensive task. Obviously, this kind of preoccupation is tangibly productive, but we shouldn’t neglect the benefits of more tacit learning opportunities embedded in those deliciously addictive videos.