The High Cost of Distraction

Fast Company magazine reports that “An average worker’s functioning IQ falls 10 points when distracted by ringing telephones and incoming emails… more than double the 4-point drop seen [in] studies on… smoking marijuana.” Ouch!

 What can you do to help people stay focused and keep their IQ high? Here’s some tips:

1) Answer emails three times per day: first thing in the morning, at noon, and at the end of the day. Stopping what you are doing every few minutes to respond to every new email is highly time-consuming and prevents focused attention.

2) Set aside blocks of time each day to work uninterrupted. Make an appointment with yourself on your calendar to reserve time for focused work. Close your door, forward your phone to voicemail, and give your undivided attention to the task at hand.

3) It’s great to have an “open door” policy, but you should restrict it to certain times per day. Having people drop by anytime they want prevents you from being as productive as you could be. Be accessible, but do so on your terms.


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