Why your business cannot afford to ignore distraction

The Principals of Productive People and Employerbility have recently joined forces to conduct a second wave of earlier research to test a theory about productivity and distraction in Australian workplaces. Our full report is available (free) on our website.

Our theory based on our combined decades of consulting,  experience, academic  and desk research and our own observations led us to want to test the hypothesis that:

Australian workers are not so much dis-engaged and unproductive, they are distracted and overloaded which in turn leads to overwhelm and feelings of never having enough time to do all that is required – both at work and outside of work”

When asked what being productive meant? 68% said they are productive at work  “Getting business tasks done”


  • 70% work more than the hours they are paid;
  • 52% cannot complete their work in paid hours;
  • 38% spend 2 or more hours per day doing things they are not paid to do;
  • 33% are frequently distracted at work

So, what is actually going on? 

There is a disconnect – on the one hand people think they are productive at work – yet clearly they are not, as 70% work beyond the hours they are expected to work – but almost 4 in 5 report they could get their ‘paid work” done within the expected time if they could manage distractions and get on with work.

Constant distraction from the world of information overload – causes brain overload. This brain overload feels like busyness, and to all intents and purposes people think they are being productive.

Global research shows people are distracted at work on average every 3 minutes and that it takes 20 minutes, plus significant mental energy to get back on track.

The state of ‘getting back on track’ or re-focusing, is confused with ‘productive output for the business’.

It is not productive output

Rather it is noise and interference – a bit like trying to listen to a badly tuned radio, or watch an out of focus television. Just think how much effort and how frustrating it is to listen on a bad phone line.

We have become conditioned to this state and associate work with the ‘unpleasantness of the badly tuned radio. We blame our boss, our colleagues, the workplace systems and processes and constantly try to ‘fix’ the problem, and alarmingly failure rates are high.

None of these solutions are focused on the Root Cause of the Problem – ineffective work habits developed from years of trying to deal with a situation our brains are not designed to deal with – too much information or ‘stuff’ vying for our attention constantly.

The solution?

Learn to ADAPT our brains processing functions to the realities of the environment we live and work in. This is NOT Neuroplasticity – it is Neuro-adaptation. Once learned and practiced – efficiency flourishes.

Download the full report


We work with organisations to transform people overload to perform and offer solutions to productivity issues from analytics and programs to behavioural change tracking and advisory services.

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