We know distractions are bad when you're trying to work. But, a new study found that it doesn't matter how many times you're distracted in one period of important work—even one little distraction is enough to derail your productivity.
The study involved 300 middle school, high school, and university students who were told to study something important for 15 minutes. The researchers then observed how difficult it was for them to maintain focus. A lot of the results were unsurprising: most of their distractions came from technology, often in the form of notifications, and there was a correlation between those that got distracted and how good of a student they were. The surprising point, though, was that it didn't matter how much they got distracted:
Not surprisingly those who stayed on task longer and had study strategies were better students. The worst students were those who consumed more media each day and had a preference for working on several tasks at the same time and switching back and forth between them. One additional result stunned us: If they checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period they were worse students. It didn't matter how many times they looked at Facebook; once was enough.
While browsing the web at work can be good for productivity, it isn't going to help if you're in the middle of an important task. This is just one more reason you should make more time by scheduling your media. Set aside time for Facebook during work breaks, not during your work, or you'll become a lot less productive. Even if you visit Facebook only once.