Distraction is so infused into our daily lives that much of the time we hardly even notice ourselves ... [+] succumbing to it. How often do you find yourself mindlessly thumbing away at your phone, with no recollection of having picked it up?

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You don’t need me to tell you that distractions are everywhere. By the time you’ve read a few lines of this article, you may have already felt the urge to refresh your Twitter feed, check that email notification, flick to another tab on your screen. 

This permanent state of distraction is so infused into our daily lives that much of the time we hardly even notice ourselves succumbing to it. How often do you find yourself mindlessly thumbing away at your phone, with no recollection of having picked it up?

But while we may consider interruptions to be mostly harmless, or even proof of our ability to juggle our workload and multi-task, studies have shown them to be hugely disruptive. 

Research by Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine, found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to an original task after an interruption. Observers going into workplaces who monitored and timed people’s activities found employees were switching between tasks on average every three minutes and five seconds, and roughly half of these were self-interruptions.