Focus Bear for Desktop

We're working on the Android App. In the meantime you can signup for the waitlist and we'll email you as soon as it's ready for download.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Also available for other platforms:

The iOS app is still in beta (but it works pretty well). It's a two-step process to download the app:


First, download Apple Test Flight
and then come back here
to get the redeem code


Download and install
the Focus Bear App

Let's do it

Click here to download
Apple Test Flight

Remember to come back here afterwards for the redeem code

Done installing Test Flight

Sweet! Now you can download Focus Bear with this link


Distraction Epidemic: The Impact of Distraction on Productivity and the Hours Lost Per Week

Jan 4, 2024

In today's fast-paced world, distractions have become a significant hindrance to productivity. With the rise of technology and the constant bombardment of notifications, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain focus and accomplish tasks efficiently. This blog post aims to delve into the impact of distractions on productivity and shed light on the alarming number of hours lost per week due to these interruptions. 

Furthermore, we will explore the causes and effects of distraction, examine the unique challenges individuals with ADHD face in managing distraction, and provide effective strategies for combating distraction on both personal and organizational fronts. This comprehensive exploration will equip you with valuable insights and practical solutions to help you and your organization effectively tackle the distraction epidemic, ultimately leading to enhanced productivity and regained hours for more meaningful tasks and pursuits.

Try for free today
Download Focus Bear
7 day trial, $4.99/mo afterwards
30 day money back guarantee
No Credit Card Required Upfront
Table of Contents

The Impact of Distraction on Productivity

How many hours do people lose per week due to distraction? The answer may surprise you. Research from a study conducted in 2012 by Australian researchers found that neurotypical individuals lost an average of 25% of their working day to distractions. In stark contrast, individuals with ADHD experienced a staggering 51% loss of work time due to the impairments associated with their condition, highlighting the significant impact ADHD can have on workplace productivity and focus. 

A recent study conducted by Udemy found that, on average, workers lose about 2.1 hours per day due to distractions, resulting in a total of 10.5 hours per week. Low productivity due to distractions is part of the phenomenon of “presenteeism” - you’re at your desk, but you’re not getting as much done as you could in your peak condition. Presenteeism affects everyone, but especially people with ADHD.

Causes of Distraction

What exactly fuels the distraction epidemic? We explore the multifaceted elements contributing to this widespread issue, with a focus on understanding the roots of the distraction epidemic, encompassing both external temptations and internal challenges.

External Distractions

The Allure of Modern Gadgets

Research has shown that the alluring nature of modern electronic gadgets, such as smartphones and tablets, is a significant external factor contributing to distraction in the workplace. These devices offer constant access to a wide range of apps and entertainment, making it tempting for individuals to divert their attention from work-related tasks. Furthermore, overuse or misuse of personal electronic devices has been shown to impair multitasking abilities and diminish overall performance.

Social Media's Addictive Pull

One of the most prevalent external sources of distraction is the addictive pull of social media. Studies have revealed that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be irresistible, frequently diverting individuals from their intended tasks. The constant notifications, updates, and lure of staying connected can undermine focus and productivity.


Internal Distractions

Tendencies Towards Laziness

Distraction can also arise from internal factors, such as tendencies toward laziness. People may procrastinate or avoid tasks they find uninteresting or mentally taxing, which can hinder productivity. Interestingly, the study revealed that people tend to prefer tasks that require a moderate level of mental effort, as they perceive these tasks as more balanced in terms of benefits and drawbacks.

Lack of Attention

A lack of attention is a common internal contributor to distraction. Study shows that some individuals experience challenges in maintaining focus on a task, often due to a wandering mind or difficulty concentrating. These internal distractions have been observed to frequently result in reduced productivity and increased time wasted on tasks.

Multitasking and Cognitive Overload

Multitasking, often seen as a productivity booster, can be a significant internal distraction. Research has shown that attempting to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously can lead to cognitive overload. This, in turn, impairs overall performance and the ability to complete tasks efficiently.

It's evident that these factors, whether they come from external attractions or our own tendencies, greatly affect our ability to stay focused and get work done. Understanding these causes helps people and organizations deal with and overcome this problem that reduces productivity.

Key Takeaway:

The distraction epidemic is a multifaceted challenge driven by external allure, internal tendencies, and the ever-present allure of modern technology. Understanding these causes is the first step toward reclaiming focus and productivity in both personal and professional life.

Effects of Distraction

Immediate Consequences

Distractions can lead to immediate consequences, including missed deadlines, decreased work quality, and impaired decision-making. These effects can impact day-to-day tasks and productivity.

Long-term Effects

Over time, distractions can have lasting effects on individuals and organizations. This may result in increased stress levels, burnout, and reduced overall job satisfaction (Bergefurt et al., 2022). It's essential to recognize the cumulative impact of distractions on well-being.

Productivity and Performance

The Udemy workplace distraction report (2018) reveals that 54% of employees feel their performance is compromised due to workplace distractions. Additionally, 50% report significantly reduced productivity, and 20% believe they cannot reach their full potential.

Implications for Job Satisfaction

Workplace distractions, including poor indoor climate and noise, negatively impact employees' health and well-being, according to a survey of 2,000 office workers (British Council for Offices, 2018). The study highlights the challenge of persistent distractions, hindering individuals from finding personal fulfillment in their work. On a positive note, effective communication, concentration, and connection with nature contribute to a healthier workplace environment.

Economic Impact and Implications

Workplace distractions extend beyond their immediate effects on individual productivity and job satisfaction. They also cast a substantial economic shadow, impacting businesses and organizations in various ways

Lost Productivity

One of the most apparent economic consequences of workplace distractions is the loss of productivity. Employees who regularly succumb to distractions find it challenging to complete tasks efficiently, leading to a significant reduction in output.

Financial Costs

The financial implications of workplace distractions are not to be overlooked. Companies incur direct expenses when employees are less productive. These costs encompass the salaries paid to employees who are not delivering their full potential.

Impact on Revenue

The distraction epidemic doesn't merely affect internal operations but can also have a profound impact on a company's revenue. Missed opportunities, delayed projects, and the overall decline in efficiency can contribute to decreased sales and client dissatisfaction.

Indirect Costs

Beyond the direct financial costs and reduced revenue, workplace distractions carry indirect costs. Increased stress levels among employees can lead to burnout, absenteeism, and high turnover rates.

Furthermore, companies may need to invest in additional training and resources to compensate for reduced productivity. Additionally, technology solutions, such as website blockers or productivity apps, can help reduce the prevalence of distractions in the workplace. While these measures aim to mitigate the impact of distractions, they represent an extra financial burden.

By recognizing the multifaceted economic implications of distractions, businesses can take proactive steps to create a work environment that fosters productivity and maximizes revenue potential.

Key Takeaway:

Workplace distractions have both immediate and long-term effects, compromising productivity and employee well-being. The Udemy workplace distraction report (2018) underscores the significant impact on performance and job satisfaction. Businesses must also acknowledge the multifaceted economic implications, including lost productivity and indirect costs, and invest in strategies to create a more productive work environment.

ADHD in the Workplace: Navigating Distractions and Challenges

ADHD and Distraction

It's important to note that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may experience even greater challenges when it comes to maintaining focus and managing distractions. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Research by Berger and Cassuto (2014) has shown that, compared to individuals without ADHD, those with ADHD are more susceptible to distractions and have difficulty sustaining attention on tasks.

Challenges in the Workplace

Examining the impact of distraction on individuals with ADHD, a study by L. Tucha and colleagues in 2015 published in the Journal of Neural Transmission revealed that those with ADHD perform poorly on tasks requiring sustained attention and are more affected by distractors than individuals without ADHD. This heightened distractibility extends beyond specific domains, influencing their performance at school, work, and in daily activities. Recognizing these challenges is crucial for developing targeted strategies and providing necessary support.

Workplace Performance and ADHD

In 2021, Fuermaier and colleagues conducted a study emphasizing how ADHD symptoms and impairments significantly influence an individual's job performance. This research underscores the importance of considering work-related issues in clinical assessments and workplace screenings for ADHD. The study advocates for supplementing self-reports with additional information and objective data to comprehensively evaluate work performance and overall functioning.

Key Takeaway:

Navigating the workplace with ADHD presents distinct challenges, with heightened susceptibility to distractions impacting tasks requiring sustained attention. The research underscores the importance of recognizing these challenges in clinical assessments and workplace screenings, emphasizing the need for supplementary information beyond self-reports. By acknowledging these hurdles, organizations can develop targeted strategies and provide tailored support to enhance the overall work experience for individuals with ADHD.

Strategies for Managing Distraction in ADHD

Visual Cues: Guiding Focus Through Visual Prompts

Visual cues are powerful tools that engage an individual's visual strengths, helping them manage distractions and enhance focus. These cues can take various forms, such as:

Images: Using images or pictures that represent specific tasks or steps in a routine.

Symbols: Utilizing symbols or icons to mark important items or actions.

Colors: Assigning different colors to tasks or items to enhance organization and categorization.

Shapes: Employing distinct shapes to differentiate between different elements or tasks.

Written notes:
Placing written notes or reminders in visible locations.

For instance, consider a teenager named Alex who struggles with their morning routine due to ADHD. By creating a visual schedule with images representing each step—waking up, brushing teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, and packing the school bag—Alex gains a clear and organized visual guide to follow. The color-coded time blocks on a timer, the use of symbols on a checklist, and the prepared environment with labeled items all contribute to reducing distractions and enhancing focus.

Using Timers to Structure Time

Timers are valuable tools for individuals with ADHD, providing a structured way to allocate time to tasks. An excellent example of such a tool is the Focus Bear app, designed to support individuals in maintaining focus and managing distractions. Focus Bear offers a range of features, including customizable focus modes with timers and Pomodoro mode.

Setting a timer for specific work intervals followed by short breaks can help maintain focus and prevent burnout. This technique, known as the Pomodoro Technique, can be particularly effective.

Breaking Tasks into Smaller, Manageable Chunks

Dividing tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks can make them less overwhelming for individuals with ADHD. For example, if a project seems daunting, breaking it down into smaller steps and focusing on completing one step at a time can improve concentration and task completion.

Seeking Support from Healthcare Professionals

Individuals with ADHD can benefit from seeking support from healthcare professionals experienced in ADHD management. These professionals can provide tailored strategies, guidance, and potentially medication options to help manage symptoms and improve focus.

It's essential to foster understanding and empathy towards individuals with ADHD in both personal and professional settings. By recognizing the impact of ADHD-related distractibility and providing appropriate support, we can create inclusive environments that help individuals with ADHD thrive.

Key Takeaway:

Strategies for managing distraction in ADHD involve leveraging visual cues, such as images, symbols, colors, shapes, and written notes, to enhance focus and reduce environmental distractions. Timers, like the Focus Bear app, offer structured time allocation for tasks, preventing burnout and promoting sustained concentration. Breaking tasks into smaller chunks and seeking support from healthcare professionals further empower individuals with ADHD to navigate the challenges of distraction, fostering inclusive environments for personal and professional success.

Combating the Distraction Epidemic

Fortunately, there are various strategies individuals and companies can employ to combat the distraction epidemic and reclaim precious lost hours. These strategies encompass both personal and organizational approaches, providing a comprehensive toolkit for regaining focus.

Personal Strategies

Understanding Distractions:
The first step towards conquering distractions involves gaining a deeper understanding of one's habits and triggers. By identifying the specific distractions that often derail productivity, individuals can develop tailored strategies for maintaining focus.

Dedicated Workspaces:
Creating a dedicated workspace can help create a productive environment. This space should be free from unnecessary distractions and clearly associated with focused work.

Time Blocking:
A popular technique for enhancing focus is time blocking. It entails allocating specific blocks of time to concentrated work, free from distractions. During these intervals, individuals can turn off notifications, close irrelevant tabs or apps, and establish an atmosphere conducive to deep concentration. The conscious allocation of time to vital tasks, without the constant division of attention, significantly reduces the time lost to distractions.

Utilizing Technology:
Leverage technology solutions like the Focus Mode feature available in apps such as Focus Bear. These tools provide structured ways to allocate time to tasks, aiding in maintaining focus and effectively managing distractions.

However, there are additional strategies recommended by Udemy that individuals can integrate into their routine to further combat distractions and improve productivity. These strategies are supported by Udemy's comprehensive research in their report.

Music, Meditation, and Relaxation:
Consider incorporating practices like music, meditation, or other relaxation techniques into your daily routine. These practices can help with refocusing and reducing stress levels.

Boundaries around Technology:
Implementing boundaries around technology use is a practical approach. This might involve turning off your phone during work hours, which is a simple yet effective way to minimize disruptions.

Simple Tasks:
Another strategy is to fill your time with simple tasks that don't require as much focus. Completing these tasks can give your mind a break while still making productive use of your time.

Organizational Strategies

On a larger scale, companies can take steps to foster a culture of focus and provide resources for distraction management. According to the Udemy Workplace Distraction Report (2018), implementing effective organizational strategies can significantly impact productivity and help manage workplace distractions.

Open Communication:
Encourage open communication among employees about the challenges of distraction. By addressing the issue collectively, companies can explore ways to create uninterrupted work environments.

Designated Quiet Zones:
Companies can consider implementing policies such as quiet zones within the workspace. These areas provide employees with a dedicated environment for focused work without the disruptions commonly found in open-office setups.

Designated Focused Work Hours:
Organizations might introduce designated focused work hours when employees are encouraged to minimize distractions and maximize productivity.

Provide Training:
Offering training on distraction management can be beneficial. This could involve teaching employees practical techniques for staying focused and reducing distractions.

Flexible Schedules and Remote Options:
Allow flexible schedules and remote work options. This approach acknowledges that different people are more productive at different times and in various settings.

Designated Quiet vs. Noisy Work Spaces:
Establish designated spaces for quiet work as well as spaces where collaborative discussions and activities are welcome.

Training on Time Management and Effective Meeting Skills:
Provide training on time management and effective meeting skills. These skills empower employees to use their time efficiently and contribute to productive meetings.

Define Cultural Norms:
Define cultural norms within the organization around acceptable noise levels, appropriate times for interruptions, and methods for seeking help when needed.

Regular “No Meetings” Days:
Implement regular "no meetings" days to provide employees with uninterrupted work time. This practice allows employees to focus on their tasks without the distraction of meetings and encourages productivity.

By applying these personal and organizational strategies, individuals and companies can work together to combat the distraction epidemic, leading to increased productivity and reclaimed hours.

Key Takeaway:

Combating the distraction epidemic involves both personal and organizational strategies. Individuals can refine their focus by understanding their unique distractions and using time-blocking techniques while adopting Udemy's recommended strategies, such as incorporating music and setting technology boundaries. On the organizational side, open communication, quiet zones, and training can help companies create a more focused work environment, ultimately reclaiming lost productivity hours.


Where can individuals with ADHD access support, resources, and professional guidance?

Is it advisable for individuals with ADHD to disclose their condition to their employers to receive workplace accommodations?

Disclosing ADHD to employers is a personal choice, but it can be beneficial for accessing reasonable accommodations. Open communication allows employers to better understand an individual's needs, leading to potential adjustments in the work environment to reduce distractions.

How can individuals with ADHD communicate their needs for a distraction-friendly workspace without feeling uncomfortable?

Expressing preferences in a positive manner, focusing on personal productivity, and highlighting specific adjustments needed can help individuals communicate their needs effectively.

How can a structured routine contribute to minimizing workplace distractions for individuals with ADHD?

A structured routine provides predictability, helping individuals with ADHD maintain focus and better manage their time throughout the workday (source).

Can physical exercise play a role in reducing workplace distractions for individuals with ADHD?

Yes, regular physical exercise has been shown to improve focus, cognitive function, and overall well-being, making it a valuable strategy for minimizing distractions in the workplace (source).


The distraction epidemic significantly impacts productivity, influenced by both external and internal factors such as modern gadgets, social media, personal tendencies, and multitasking. Understanding the causes helps in reclaiming focus, evident through the extensive hours lost due to distractions. This productivity loss extends to the workplace, affecting neurotypical individuals and individuals with ADHD, who suffer a significantly greater loss of work hours. Implementing strategies like time blocking, leveraging technology, creating dedicated workspaces, and seeking healthcare professional support aids in managing distractions both personally and organizationally. The combat against this epidemic involves inclusive environments that recognize the impact of ADHD-related distractibility and offer tailored support, resulting in increased productivity and reclaimed hours.

Jan 4, 2024

More Reading

This website uses its own third party cookies. By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.