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The Surprising Benefits of Being Distracted in the Workplace

Distractions are an inevitable part of life, especially in today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with information and stimuli. We all have tried to complete a task and found ourselves falling prey to distractions, whether its social media or browsing online shops.

But, what if we told you that distractions are not all that bad? In fact, there are some benefits to being distracted, which we will explore in this article.

We will also provide you with tips on how to navigate distractions in the workplace.

The Benefits of Being Distracted

Have you ever noticed that you are more productive when you take a break from a task or get distracted? Research shows that taking breaks can actually increase productivity.

A study published in the journal Cognition found that participants who took breaks during a task performed better than those who did not take a break.

But, why is this the case?

Our brains can only focus on a task for a limited amount of time before our attention starts to waver. By taking a break or getting distracted, we give our brains a chance to reset, which can help us come back to the task with renewed energy and focus.

Additionally, being distracted can have some unexpected creativity benefits. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that participants who were easily distracted scored higher on tests of creativity than those who were able to focus on a task without being distracted.

This is because our minds make connections between seemingly unrelated topics when we are distracted, leading to new and innovative ideas.

Navigating Distractions in the Workplace

Distractions in the workplace can be particularly challenging, especially when we are expected to be productive and efficient. However, there are strategies that we can use to minimize distractions and increase productivity.

Noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver in a noisy office. They block out distracting sounds and provide a sense of privacy, allowing you to focus on your work.

Another strategy is to avoid the internet when you need to complete a task. The internet is full of distractions, from social media to online shopping, and it is easy to get sidetracked.

Instead, try working offline or using a website blocker to limit your access to distracting websites.

While distractions can be disruptive, there are some positive aspects to workplace distractions.

Co-worker conversations can be a source of inspiration and new ideas, especially when we collaborate with colleagues from different departments or backgrounds. Additionally, workplace distractions can sometimes provide article ideas for writers and journalists.


In conclusion, distractions are not always bad, and can actually provide some benefits when navigated properly. Taking breaks can increase productivity, while being easily distracted can enhance our creativity.

In the workplace, strategies such as noise-cancelling headphones and internet avoidance can help to minimize distractions. However, it is also important to recognize the positive aspects of workplace distractions, such as co-worker collaboration and inspiration.

By embracing distractions and using them to our advantage, we can make the most of our workday.

Assessing Your Distraction Tolerance

Are you easily distracted or have a laser focus when completing tasks? To find out, you can try taking the interactive distraction test developed by Joshua Hartshorne, a cognitive scientist at Boston College.

The test consists of a series of exercises that assess how quickly you get distracted by a new stimulus and how well you stay on task. The test starts with a simple distraction task, where you must click on a green circle while ignoring a red circle that suddenly appears on the screen.

The task becomes progressively more challenging, with the introduction of additional distractions as you progress through the levels.

Upon completion of the test, you will receive a score and explanation of how well you did.

But, what do the results really mean?

Interpretation of Test Results

If you scored high on the test and were able to stay on task even with multiple distractions, then you likely have a high tolerance for distractions. This can be beneficial in certain situations, such as when multitasking is necessary or when you need to handle multiple projects at once.

However, it can also mean that you might miss out on creative opportunities that come with having a more distractible mind.

On the other hand, if you scored low on the test and found yourself getting easily distracted, do not fear.

Being easily distracted can actually be a good thing for creativity and problem-solving. Embrace your distractible mind and learn to manage distractions, rather than fighting against them.

Additionally, it is important to note that context matters. Your ability to stay on task and manage distractions may be different in different work environments or with different types of tasks.

Emphasizing the Benefits of Being Distracted

Distractions are often viewed as a negative force that hinders productivity. However, as we have discussed throughout this article, there are benefits to being distracted.

Taking breaks and allowing ourselves to get distracted can increase productivity by giving our brains a chance to reset. Plus, the creative benefits of distraction can lead to innovative ideas and solutions.

So, while it is important to manage distractions and stay on task when necessary, we should also embrace the benefits that distractions can bring. By finding ways to use distractions to our advantage, we can improve our productivity and enhance our creative capabilities.


Distractions can be challenging to navigate, but they are also a natural part of life. By taking the distraction test, we can gain a better understanding of our tolerance for distractions and learn how to manage them effectively.

Additionally, as we have seen throughout this article, there are benefits to being distracted, such as increased creativity and productivity. By embracing distractions and finding ways to work with them, we can enhance our work experience and achieve better results.

In conclusion, distractions are not always negative and can actually provide benefits when managed effectively. Taking breaks and being easily distracted can increase productivity and spark creativity.

With strategies such as noise-cancelling headphones and internet avoidance, we can mitigate distractions in the workplace while also recognizing the positive aspects of co-worker collaboration and inspiration. Knowing our distraction tolerance can also help us tailor our work habits to maximize productivity and creativity.

By embracing distractions and learning to manage them, we can achieve better results and enhance our work experience.

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