In light of recent articles to the contrary, I am compelled to stand up for my fellow multi-taskers. I knit on the job. And I’m more productive as a result.

When I’m struggling to pull an article together, I push back from the computer and knit a few rows. In fact, I’m knitting right now.

All kidding aside, I accomplish a lot more when I’m stitching. My stories get done on time. I’m able to prioritize tasks more effectively. I successfully create unique items to gift or wear myself. All of that made me wonder. Does knitting — or other handiwork for that matter — make you more productive?

Well, kinda. As it turns out, neuroscientists believe hobbies like knitting can actually change the neurochemistry of our brain in a good way. In a March 2018 segment on CBS’ Sunday Morning, Tony Dokoupil interviewed Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond. Lambert has been studying the effects of hand-brain connection and its relationship to mental health using lab rats. Her research with rodents found that rats which are required to dig for their reward have lower stress hormones (and thus, better mental health) than those which receive a reward without putting in the effort.

One British study found a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy, more frequent knitters in the study also reported “higher cognitive functioning.” I confess to feeling calm and happy when I knit — I am not, however, comfortable in publicly proclaiming I am smarter than others because I do so frequently. 

All I know is that as my hands take a break from maneuvering something other than computer keys, my mind wanders freely. And it isn’t long before my fingers move from coaxing a kfb from the stitches on a size #2 needle back to the keyboard so I can polish a pesky transition. A state of nirvana ensues once I’ve crafted the perfect sentence.

All of the research I’ve read indicates knitting benefits both the mind and the body, which I suppose is something I knew all along. Full disclosure: freelance writing is my second job, so I don’t need anyone’s permission to bring my knitting needles to the “office.” I believe workplace productivity includes providing your employees with a stress-free environment, but your boss probably doesn’t care what I think. Study findings notwithstanding, knit on the job at your own risk.

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