Every time you pull away from a project to check your phone or Twitter feed, it takes 1,395 seconds (23+ minutes) on average to regain your focus.
Even without distractions, the time you spend actually focusing deeply on the projects and tasks that truly matter to you is limited. Your time is a precious resource that you’re probably not cherishing the way you should!
How much time do you spend every day actually digging deep and accomplishing things that matter and how much do you spend swimming in the shallow end, checking off boxes? Or, worse still, distracted by texts, personal emails and social media?
If you’re like most of us, the time you’re losing is staggering.
In my new book LIFESCALE, I guide you on a deeper dive into this global problem and offer short- and long-term solutions to living a balanced life with social media and other distractions as an essential side dish, rather than a main course that dominates our days while sapping our productivity, creativity and souls. How Bad Could It Be? (Hint: It’s Worse)
All the analysts who’ve studied this problem so far have come to the same conclusion-it’s bad. Just how extensive is the time and productivity we lose to persistent distraction?
According to McKinsey & Co., high-skilled workers spend 28% of their work hours reading and then replying to email messages. That doesn’t even touch on the issues of social media distraction I discuss in LIFESCALE.
These distractions are costing us hundreds of billions of dollars (that’s right) in lost productivity every year. We’re spending more hours on the job and getting less done.
And we’re becoming so Pavlovian in our compulsive need to answer email/texts, and monitor Twitter/ Facebook updates, we have reached a point where getting back on track requires slow, deliberate daily practice for us to relearn how to focus. LIFESCALE will guide you through these exercises.
The number quoted in the first paragraph is the result of research by Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at the University of California, Irvine. She’s found that interruptions caused by stopping to check email, Facebook, etc. siphon off a lot more time than we think. On average it takes almost half an hour to return to our original tasks after an intrusion. And, as we all know from experience, the more demanding and intense the project, the longer it actually takes us to reach the same level of focus and productivity as before.
So when we say, “time is valuable,” believe it. And the next time you allow yourself to be pulled away for “just a second” to check your Twitter feed, realize that you’re losing much more than half a minute. Through Lifescaling, we can all learn to focus our attention and truly value our time again.