The mind is a mess of distractions. ‘Distractions, like butterflies a buzzin’ round my head’ sang Paul McCartney in one of his lesser known, but perfectly crafted songs on his 1980s LP Flowers in the Dirt. The mind has always been a web of distractions, but things today are slightly worse than when McCartney sang about the ‘postman at the door, while the telephone rings on the kitchen wall.” Today a worker, in an office, has more than the telephone to worry about, today there is the internet and smartphones and Kindles and YouTube and Twitter…the list is endless, no wonder productivity levels in the UK are tanking.
However, a recent survey found that traditional forms of distraction such as taking breaks away from desks, and spending time at the water cooler or in the kitchen, still prevail. The survey, of more than 1000 employees conducted by BambooHR found that the distraction which takes up the most time on the clock is taking breaks in the office kitchen.
Trips to the bathroom were placed second on the list, while small talk and gossiping with coworkers was the third biggest workplace distraction. Surprisingly, digital-related distractions such as surfing the web and using social media for non-work-related reasons only came in fifth and seventh on the list respectively.
And then of course there is the purest form of distraction….daydreaming. It just can’t be helped. Especially if you happen to sit near a window. Daydreaming can also lead, most likely by accident, to creativity and productivity. Inspiration out of the ether. Daydreaming is a beautiful distraction. A butterfly to be embraced.