Almost a third of us can’t go 20 minutes or less without checking our phone at work

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With research suggesting that human adults are only able to focus on something for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, it’s no wonder many of us struggle with procrastination during the working day, or constantly find ourselves distracted by our thoughts whilst watching TV.

Now, new research from Lenstore has revealed which activities we get distracted the most during, as well as the conversations that really make us switch off, including when someone is talking about their kids, partner, or COVID. They also asked people about their most common procrastination techniques, revealing what we’re actually doing when we should be focusing on the task at hand.

The activities we get the most distracted during
We all get distracted when trying to complete certain tasks, but which do we find the most difficult to focus on? Lenstore’s research found that the most common activity we struggle to concentrate on is housework, followed by watching TV and watching a film:

Activity versus % who get distracted

Doing household chores – 82%
Watching tv – 81%
Watching a film at home – 75%
Listening to music – 73%
Talking with friends – 72%
Cooking – 69%
Talking with family – 69%
Reading an email – 66%
Exercising – 65%
Texting friends – 65%

Shockingly, even when doing something enjoyable, such as watching TV or listening to music, we still struggle to pay attention to the activities we’re actively choosing to spend our free time on.

Over half of us struggle to stay focused when working from home
Struggling to focus during the working day? You’re not alone as 54% of us admit to getting distracted when working in the office, and 51% admit to losing focus when working remotely, with 16-24 year olds losing concentration the most (74%).

Most of us are guilty of scrolling through our phones when we’re supposed to be working. Lenstore’s results revealed that one in three (28%) of us check our phone every 20 minutes or less when completing a task at work, and 27% check every 20 minutes or less during a work video call.

The top conversation topics that send us to sleep
Ever found yourself trying really hard to stay focused on what the person in front of you is saying when in reality the topic is causing you to imagine yourself far, far away? Lenstore’s research shows that gossiping and conversations about strangers and politics are the top three topics we struggle to stay focused on the most:

The top procrastination techniques 
As many of us continue to work from home, for the time being, procrastination has become even more of a problem, with distractions such as the TV and incomplete errands preventing us from focusing on our work.

Lenstore’s research reveals that watching TV, scrolling through social media and listening to music are the top procrastination techniques we use to avoid the task at hand:

Activity vs % using this procrastination technique

Watching tv – 28%
Scrolling through Facebook – 19%
Listening to music – 18%
Making a cup of coffee or tea – 17%
Eating/drinking – 16%

It’s no secret that our mobile phones are a huge factor in causing us to become distracted, with almost three in 10 (28%) admitting to checking their phone every 20 minutes or less during working hours.

However, many of us are aware of this with almost three in ten (29%) agreeing that tech has a negative impact on our attention spans whilst a third (33%) admit their phones limit their capability to pay attention.

Julie Leonard advises us to put our phone away, or turn it off, to prevent us from becoming distracted: “Train yourself to be more present. Learning to be more mindful or to meditate will help you learn to be more in the moment. Starting small with just a minute or two is enough to have an effect and motivate you to build up your concentration.”

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    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter