If you are stuck on a big project, sometimes the best thing you can do is step away and take a break. You can go for a walk, do completely unrelated work or talk out your frustration with a friend or co-worker.
But there's a simpler thing you can do to clear your mind: According to a new study from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, cleaning your hands can actually shift your mindset and help you focus on a new goal.
In a series of experiments, the researchers asked the study participants to think about a particular goal in a process called “priming.” They were then asked to either look at or use a handwipe.
Related: The 5 Golden Rules of Goal-Setting
The study found that the people who used the handwipes were less likely to still be thinking about their initial goals. Their behavior was also less likely to be consistent with the pursuit of that first goal.
After the action of cleaning their hands, the researchers ultimately found that first goal to be less important to the participants and that it was easier for them to focus on a new objective. So if you find your mind wandering, wash your hands to help you start new.