A few years ago, we wrote about the common phenomenon of feeling extra lethargic on rainy days. We know the feeling all too well—rainy days call for snuggling deeper into our blankets. The dark skies also trick us into thinking it’s not morning yet, that we can still steal an hour or two of sleep.
This slowdown in energy and productivity was then explained to be caused by SAD or seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that manifests during the changing of the seasons. The lack of serotonin from sunlight and subsequently the increase in melatonin were pinned as the main reasons behind rainy day lethargy and languishing.[READ: Why do rainy days make us feel sleepy?]
But apparently, there are studies that have found that people can become more productive on rainy days.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2014 found that the weather does affect our focus and mental processes. “For work contexts, worker productivity is higher on bad rather than good weather days,” researchers Jooa Julia Lee, Francesca Gino, and Bradley Staats wrote in the abstract of their study.
They noted that bad weather results in fewer cognitive distractions, which then make it more conducive for focus, and therefore productivity.
The clearer and brighter the day, then, meant a higher chance of distraction because of the potential to do more things outside. Makes sense. Bright sunny days really do make it more enticing to dream of going on vacation (“Mentally I’m here,” *insert photo of a beach*), and rainy days make us more likely to stay indoors.
With rainy days becoming more frequent for us, knowing we have the potential to still be productive despite the overall grayness of the day makes for a silver lining.
To maximize that potential of productivity, the researchers recommended setting focus-heavy, clerical tasks for rainy days. You can also put on some good music to keep you in that work mood as you organize your task list.
But if the lethargy of a rainy day gets to you first, there are always mobile productivity apps (like Google Docs) you can use to work under the covers. Worked for me, at least.