Distracted at Work? You Might Be a Genius

All those great ideas are clogging your brain, study suggests
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2016 11:41 AM CST
Distracted at Work? You Might Be a Genius
People paying attention to their smartphones is one of the art pieces featured in the exhibit "Extreme Fibers: Textile Icons and the New Edge" at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Mich.   (Tessa Lighty/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP)

The modern world is rife with distractions, but new research suggests those who find it most difficult to focus tend to be the most intelligent. "The difficulty to withstand multiple tasks and distractions in the office affects smart people in the same way as everyone else, if not more," says the vice president of workplace solutions specialist Steelcase, whose company published the research. To discern this, researchers studied 10,000 workers spread across 17 countries, half of whom admitted they find it hard to concentrate at work. Steelcase cites research conducted by GlobalWebIndex in which it was found that the average time spent on mobile phones has doubled since 2012, reports the Independent. In the UK, for instance, typical smartphone users check their phone 221 times a day and email 30 times an hour.

The study suggests that all these distractions take the biggest toll on the brightest workers because they've got more ideas kicking around. This, in turn, can easily lead to a "feeling of inadequacy and inability to deal with the workload as a whole," psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell tells the Telegraph. Or as Bustle puts it, "Basically the theory is that smart people tend to instinctively want to tackle each problem and address each issue as it arises, and in a world full of distractions, that means that more intelligent individuals are more likely to get sucked in." Death and Taxes, however, is a little skeptical of all these studies suggesting that anything from staying up late to having a messy desk indicates we are gifted in some way. So go ahead and pat yourself on the back if you find yourself distracted—just keep in mind you're not the only one. (This man was so distracted he walked right off a cliff.)

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