It’s really hard to ignore the beep/ring/bark of an incoming message. It’s almost like an addiction. In fact, the side effects of constantly being distracted by emails, phone calls and texts are similar to drug addiction.
A study by the Institute of Psychiatry for Hewlett Packard found that constant distractions resulted in a 10-point drop in the IQ of workers. That’s twice the impact of marijuana!
According to another study of Microsoft workers it took them 10 minutes to deal with a distraction, caused by an alert, and then another 10-15 minutes to get back into their primary task. Many workers also used the alert of an incoming message as an opportunity not only to check their messages, but then to look at several other applications, which sometimes resulted in a two-hour gap before the primary task was resumed.
How often do you get to the end of the day having achieved a tiny percentage of what you set out to do because you’ve been ‘multitasking’ all day? Did you realise that the effect on your mind of these constant distractions is equivalent to missing a night’s sleep? So to top a frustrating day’s worth of unproductiveness you’re probably damaging your brain cells too.
If you recognise that maybe you’re just a bit addicted to the beep, then you can deal with it. Switch the sound off, cover your phone up or just use good old fashioned will power and finish what you’re doing before you check your messages. It’s probably just an email offering you 10% off your next airport transfer anyway.