In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse news, sports or entertainment Web sites.
“I was surprised by how easily people were distracted and how long it took them to get back to the task,” said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft research scientist and co-author, with Shamsi Iqbal of the University of Illinois, of a paper on the study that will be presented next month.
The above is an excerpt from the American daily New York Times. New York Times front page ran an article pulling together the results of several recent studies looking at how interruptions and attempts to multitask can affect the quality of work as well as the length of recovery time.
Technology is a double-edged sword, it can make or break you. It can speed up your innovation, or it can also hamper it down severely. For example, if you are programming something, and just stuck with any technical glitch and go to web for a solution, you could get easily distracted by myriad number of things. The urge to check email, to check for any new post on your favourite blog, or to check that has any new comment appeared on your blog, or to check for any new anti-virus definition update, or to check for any news alert, or to check your RSS feeds, or to just have a glance at twitter, or to browse through any new interesting news story on reddit, digg, stumbleUpon, furl or technorati and the list goes on.