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Doing This One Thing Causes Us To Lose 10 IQ Points Multiple Times A Day (Hint: We All Do It)
When was the last time you gambled? Whether it’s deciding whether to pack an umbrella on an overcast day, which startups to invest in, or how to forecast a deal, we’re constantly making bets and educated guesses based on the information we have access to.
Draining IQ Levels
We’re shackled to our inboxes. According to one study conducted at the University of London, half of all workers respond to an email within 60 minutes of receiving it. A staggering one in five workers will go so far as to break off from a business or social engagement to respond to a message. The results are devastating. The study revealed that when we allow ourselves to be distracted by email, we lose as many as 10 IQ points—equivalent to 2.5 times the 4-point drop we experience after smoking marijuana!
A Silent killer of Productivity
In addition to wreaking havoc on our IQ, email also distresses our productivity levels. A study spearheaded by researchers at the University of California at Irvine revealed that it takes upwards of 20 minutes for you to regain your initial momentum after an interruption. There’s a hefty transaction cost associated with the disruptive nature of email.
Email is fodder for context switching. The interruption causes us to lose focus and engage in a form of multi-tasking, simultaneously trying to continue with our “real” work and trying to check our email. It makes it impossible to achieve the state of consciousness that researchers call “the flow”. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the term “flow”, describes the state of flow as one that involves “every action, movement and thought [following] inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.”
Why should we care about flow? A study by McKinsey found that top executives report being five times more productive when they’re in a state of flow. Most of us, largely due to the influence of email, only spend 5% of our time in flow. There’s a lot of room for improvement. And it all starts with the more intelligent use of email.
A Call for Action
Email is so entangled in our societal norms that it’s become acceptable and matter-of-fact. In fact, the aforementioned University of London study found that 3 out of 10 workers believe that it’s not only acceptable for colleagues to answer emails during face-to-face meetings, but that it is an indication of diligence and efficiency!
It’s time to take a stand. Tools like Affinity surface your most actionable emails to the top of your inbox. Affinity proactively alerts you when you need to respond to emails to ensure that you never miss a beat. All in all, it liberates you from the shackles of your inbox and supercharges your IQ and productivity levels.