A study carried out via iPhone by researchers in the US has pinned down just how much of the time people’s minds are awander. They were surveyed at random times about what they were doing, what they were thinking about and how their mood was.
While their study sample was composed entirely of people who owned the device, and were prepared to download and be disturbed by an app of this kind, the researchers said it provides an insight into how our minds can wander during the day.
After gathering 250,000 survey results, the Harvard team concluded that this group of people spent 46.9% of their time awake with their minds wandering.
Interestingly, they managed to find a bit of a link between wandering thought and levels of happiness:
People who were most distracted away from the task in hand were more likely to report feelings of unhappiness.
Reports of happiness were most likely among those exercising, having a conversation or making love, whereas unhappiness was reported most while people were resting, working, or using computers.