20 percent worse

Your attention is being hijacked by invasive and pernicious forces beyond your control.

A maelstrom of technological, environmental and societal shifts keep you hopping from one thing to the next, more frazzled than ever.

Media in all its guises is ransacking your thought process and your ability to think deeply. Everything flits across the surface, distracted and disconnected. Switching back and forth.

All this switching has a price. Your performance drops. You’re slower. And you lose time every time you mentally transition from one topic to another.

When you check your texts while trying to work, you aren’t only losing the little bursts of time you spend looking at the texts themselves – you’re also losing the time it takes to refocus afterward.

It can take more than 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted. That’s because distractions actively break down your ability to focus. A scattered mind makes mistakes.

One study at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute took 136 students and got them to sit a test. Some students had to have their phones switched off, and others had their phones on and received intermittent text messages.

The students who received messages during the test performed 20 percent worse.

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