Intelligent people are more easily distracted, research suggests

Increased access to technology may be a reason for lack of focus

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Those who find themselves easily distracted at work may be intellectually superior to their colleagues, according to research.

Intelligent workers may have difficulty concentrating due to the vast number of clever ideas popping into their gifted brains.

Bostjan Ljubic, vice president of Steelcase, a workplace solutions company that analysed the findings of neuroscientists and cognitive researchers, said: “Employers are always on the lookout for the brightest people available, however the difficulty to withstand multiple tasks and distractions in the office affects smart people in the same way as everyone else, if not more.”

The smartest individuals may find it more difficult to decide which ideas to prioritise with distraction leading to, what psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell cites as, “a feeling of inadequacy and inability to deal with the workload as a whole,” the Telegraph reports.

He added, the smartest brains can ultimately fall short of their own expected potential, as well as failing to live up to their employer's hopes. 

Nearly half of more than 10,000 workers, surveyed in 17 countries, said they struggled to concentrate in the office, according to a wellbeing study by Steelcase. 

Increased access to technology has been cited as a possible reason for this lack of focus.

Research from GlobalWebIndex, cited by Steelcase, says the average time spent on mobile devices has increased by 200 per cent since 2012; while the average smartphone user in the UK checks their phone 221 times every day and the average office worker checks their email around 30 times an hour.

The University of California suggest that, ultimately, the average office worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes.  

Mr Ljubic said: “The ways in which we work are changing more rapidly than ever before and the brain is being subjected to stresses and distractions which can lead to overload and statistics show that distractions in the workplace are on the rise.”