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Chronic Procrastination and the Cost of the "Ding!"

Guadian UK: Hi-tech is turning us all into time-wasters

(via Rich Siegel)

A few weeks ago, I pointed you to a startling stat in the New York Times stating that 28% of the average worker's day gets blown on unnecessary interruptions -- helping contribute to a crisis that a company like Intel now considers a $1 billion per year problem. From yesterday's Guardian comes more numbers on the growing cost of distraction:

Ferrari says that chronic procrastination is now so serious a condition it needs to be recognised by clinicians. In a study to be published later this year, he estimates that 15 to 20 per cent of people are chronic procrastinators. 'We now have data on 4,000 people, and it doesn't seem to matter what age you are, or your sex or background.'

Of course, as the Inbox Zero guy, I think a real eye-opener sneaks in with this passing note about the cost of all those noisy email notifications you created:

Even the beeps notifying the arrival of email are said to be causing a 0.5 per cent drop in gross domestic product in the United States, costing the economy $70bn a year.

Although the headline wants to point the blame squarely at "hi-tech," the last graf talks about your brain's own role in how that nasty new technology is allowed to be abused:

It appears that the brain is divided into two parts. One triggers 'automatic responses' which take precedence over everything else - such as fleeing sabre-toothed tigers. The other governs 'deliberate responses' - writing that report due next week or booking a visit to the optician.

Do yourself (and your company) a favor this morning: try just briefly shutting off the "Ding!" and give yourself authority to schedule your next email dash.

Just for one morning, see if you can't get a bit more actual work done if you're not mentally scanning for sabre-tooths.


smbrannan's picture

That’s something that has

That's something that has stumped our IT department so far....




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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