When Internet Distractions Make Us More Efficient | Bits – NYTimes

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THE Internet is a rabbit hole of distraction. It’s easy to wind up knee-deep in paparazzi photos of Beyonce’s new baby when you intended only to answer a few e-mails.

Digital detours aren’t necessarily a waste of time. Taking a short break to wander around the Web may actually be very healthy.
But last week, I had a different experience. Stressed out, on a deadline, I was frustrated to the point of uselessness and began to post a handful of items to Twitter and Tumblr. For a while, my mind and fingers wandered aimlessly around the Web. When I grew tired of this, I turned back to my assignment, completed it and turned it in. The entire detour took less than 10 minutes, and it seemed to make me more efficient.

Of course, the standard party line is that our focus and attention span are being whittled away by the never-ending barrage of services flooding our screens and feeds — and that this is a debilitating trend.

If my brain is learning how to cope with distractions, is it possible that others are, too?

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