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Which Generation is Most Distracted by Their Phones?


Stashed in: Awesome, Email, Multitasking, Freakonomics

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For starters, there’s the fact that older adults set the policies that get everyone checking their work email constantly. They are the business owners and executives who expect instant responses. 

In addition, it’s an open question how often employees checking email really do so productively or out of necessity. In The Atlantic, Ian Bogost, a video game designer and researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, notes that people often turn to work email so they can feel productive: 

"Email pruning doesn’t enact work so much as it simulates work: It’s a ritual—like a secular, corporate rosary—which we perform in the hopes that it will somehow help us leave the domain of ineffectual work and re-enter the domain of gratifying productivity.”

One could criticize young people’s micro-interactions on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as shallow connections that lack the depth of face-to-face conversations. But adults who check their email constantly may be searching for a similar illusion of productivity—a quick fix of feeling productive and important that pales in comparison to 90 minutes of focused work. 

And yet it's hard to ignore email because if you do it really piles up!

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