The Surprising Personality Trait That Means You're Smart

Sophie Miura

If you struggle to finish this article without glancing at your phone notifications or chatting with a colleague, don’t worry—science says that’s actually a good thing. Until now, we’ve been led to believe that being prone to distraction is a negative attribute, but according to PureWow, a new Steelcase study suggests the contrary. In fact, a wandering mind could be a sign that you’re actually pretty smart.

The recent study followed the habits of over 10,000 workers in 17 countries. Researchers tracked their office behavior, including their ability to focus on tasks without distraction. The findings? The more intelligent you are, the harder it is to keep your mind focused on one task.

According to researchers, our brains are naturally wired to react to multiple tasks. “We keep telling ourselves: Just be more focused, just work harder,” says Donna Flynn, vice president of workspace futures at Steelcase. “But, in reality, no matter how hard we try, our brains just don’t work that way.” The University of California found that the average worker is interrupted every three minutes but takes 23 minutes to return to the task.

The takeaway? If you couldn’t finish this article without attending to messages or grabbing a coffee, that’s okay. But learn to prioritize good distractions and practice discipline by quickly returning to the original task. After all, if this study is to be believed, people who know how to harness distractions are the ones who will succeed.

Find out more about why science says your distraction-prone mind is a good thing at PureWow.

Want to discover how to be smarter in the workplace? Shop the career book below.

What’s your number one cause for distraction at work? Tell us in the comments below.

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