Distractions are everywhere and focus can certainly be a challenge to maintain.
We are bombarded with information constantly, and its instant accessibility means that distraction is our baseline mode and focus becomes increasingly difficult to sustain.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You’re talking with a friend and she mentions a movie she recently saw. Neither of you can quite recall the name of the lead actor, so you whip out your phones to look it up.
While you’re doing that you notice an urgent e-mail from a work colleague which, in turn, brings you to a document that you need to review and sign. You add that to your to-do list and go back to your search screen. In the meantime, your friend has moved on and is checking her news feed and commenting on the latest headlines.
Now, what were you originally looking for?
This is a common experience in our lives today – and its ramifications are far-reaching and, in many ways, concerning.
Focus vs. Distractions – Some Concerns
Here are just a few of the concerns that come to mind:
- We now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.
Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity … because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully ‘in the zone’ for either activity.
Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction. Our cars now have mobile phone integration and a thousand satellite radio stations. When walking from one place to another, we have our devices streaming data from dozens of sources. Even at our bedside, we now have our iPads with heaps of digital apps and the world’s information at our fingertips.
Distractions and Focus – Your Choice
In the end, it always boils down to the small choices that we make. The challenge, with distractions, is that they can be addicting, for one thing.
That, coupled with the fact that the choices are often so seemingly small means that you can find yourself down a rabbit-hole of distraction before you notice what’s happening.
Distractions Tripping You Up? Tame Your Time Wasters Today! offers some ideas for avoiding tempting distractions. It’s a moment-by-moment choice that requires clarity, discipline, and time boundaries.
Creating space for focus, for quiet, for reflection — this is a wonderful gift that you can give yourself. It improves the quality of your life and actually increases your efficiency and effectiveness, too.
Here’s to your time success …