If you find it difficult to focus at work and often get distracted by things around you, there’s good news.

Whilst it may feel as though getting frequently distracted is a bad thing, it can actually mean that you are more intelligent than those who don’t get distracted, a new analysis by workplace solutions company Steelcase has found.

Getting distracted from your workload can be so simple and easily done, it’s almost part of a normal working day for most of us. We’re constantly being given information through every possible outlet and we’re expected to process everything and be more productive than ever before – so why exactly can getting distracted mean you’re more intelligent?

Steelcase have been analysing the findings of neuroscientists and cognitive researchers all over the world as well as integrating this with their own research into workplace practices and have found some pretty interesting results. With figures such as 204 million emails being sent every minute, workers checking their email 30 times an hour and users having an average of 8 task windows open on their desktop at any one time, it’s no wonder our attention is always flitting from task to task.

So with all this happening, our brains are getting used to processing lots of information and being as productive as possible – meaning our brains have already moved onto the next task before we’ve finished the first. As we’re always striving for new ideas and thinking about what we need to do next, it can be difficult to concentrate on any one task at hand. It seems we’re in a catch 22.

According to psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell, the most intelligent people find it difficult to prioritise which task or idea to focus on at any one time, which can result in distractions that cause “a feeling of inadequacy and inability to deal with the workload as a whole”, inevitably causing problems in the workplace.

If you feel as though you often get distracted whilst at work, rest assured that it just means you’re more intelligent than those who can focus on single tasks and ideas. However, actively researching the way to improve your focus and minimize distractions will make your workload feel a lot easier and your stress levels lower, as you’ll be more comfortable with the ideas you’re focusing on. Your boss will love you more too!

Do you struggle to focus at work? Let us know your top tips for minimizing distractions.

Christina Lawson, B.A.

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