Why are we so distracted?
Well, over the course of the last three decades, the technology that we incorporate into our lives in a day has increased exponentially. We have smart phones, laptops, televisions, tablets, smart watches, GPS… The list goes on and on. It doesn’t just add, it compounds the distractions. And according researchers, we use all of it every single day — both in our personal and professional lives. In fact, studies show that the average American checks their phone 150 times a day – and that’s not including all your other devices!
Studies show that once we receive a notification, our distraction level exponentially escalates regardless of whether or not we open our phone to respond.
We all know the feeling: a buzz in our pocket telling us we have a new Facebook message, a handful of emails, a call, a tweet, a “like”… The notifications are never ending. We have been programmed (or reprogrammed) to react to our devices! On a chemical level, it is actually physically possible for us to be addicted to notifications!
Long story short, we’re distracted. Very distracted.
And it isn’t just the devices–it’s also the constant access to easy-to-consume information. We are expected to be plugged in 24/7 – and we want to be! And with such saturation has come an increase in expectations –especially in the workplace. With the average employee working too much, the universality of wifi, and the interconnectivity of social media, the barrier between work-life and personal-life has taken a fatal blow. As a result, employees are feeling very overwhelmed (almost 70% of people employed in the US report such a feeling).
Unfortunately, there is little being done by business owners and managers to accommodate the issue of rapid technological inundation. Consequently, most of us usually don’t have any idea how to manage the flood of emails, notifications, conference calls, etc. As one of the leading research corporations put it, “it is unclear who even owns this problem.”
The flood isn’t going to dry up.
The modern worker will continue to face a world (and an office, and home) full of technological distractions.
The trick now, as a 21st century worker, is to figure out how to navigate the day-to-day. We need to learn how to circumvent the unnecessary distractions, prioritize what matters to us (both personally and professionally), and incorporate the tech that will help instead of hurt our productivity.
The first step is to get educated about these distractions:
- 70% of American adults experience stress on a daily basis (work, school, family, etc.), and many report a chronic disruption in their sleeping patterns because of it
- 205 billion emails are sent every single day–most emails are business/consumption related
- 90% of American households have more than 3 “connected” devices–the average number of devices per household is 5.2
- There is a chemical reaction to notifications that takes place in our brains: “Dopamine loops” are what’s responsible for our constant desire to seek information and communication
- Two-thirds of all Americans use Facebook, 70% of those people on a daily basis, 45% of those people several times a day!
- You are 3x more likely to make mistakes in your work after being distracted by tech notifications
- 95% of people use their smartphone before bed
- 1 in 3 people would rather give up sex than their phone!
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