Ever wondered why in the middle of a focused state of a mind there would be always that one thing that would make you stop what you’re doing? And then making it difficult for you to get back on track again?
Even if you’re at work, there would be distractions anywhere. When you’re a freelancer and you work at home, doesn’t that make you a little bit tempted to get up from the computer and sleep instead? Or binge watch your favorite TV series?
Or just when you’re at school trying intently to listen to your professor then all of a sudden your mind just wanders?
The question we all don’t want to know the answer to is why can’t we focus. When it was before the technological advance in our generation, were we as less centered and less focused?
Three years ago, Microsoft Corporation conducted a study on the attention span of humans. From the average 12 seconds in 2000, the attention span of the average human beings decreased to 8 seconds. Less than that of a goldfish.
According to the study, it is because of the digital lifestyle that makes us more difficult to focus. Multi-screeners or those who spend way too much on digital electronics are easily distracted by multiple streams of media and find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli.
Especially nowadays, when you open a website or an app there are also other thousand option stimuli in a single site. When you were just searching for one Youtube video but there are other related videos as well that makes you think you “need” to view them too. When in fact, you have already gotten the information you wanted from the very first video or article you opened. This is now the everyday life of this generation. At least not all, I hope.
It is not just theories and personal opinion of an old soul, it is now a scientific fact based on the results of a scientific study. Younger generation and who we adoringly called the Milennials were more likely to display addiction-like behaviors when it comes to their devices. More than half of them reach for their phone when nothing is occupying their attention and checks their phone every 30 minutes or less.
Scrolling through your news feed gives way to information overload. It means our brain needs faster ways to digest all the information which is probably another theory why we have shorter attention span.
In a good light, the study finds out that even though human attention span has decreased, our ability to multi-task has greatly improved. I think it correlates with the information overload theory stated above. If we have a lot of task at hand with a deadline, it is possible that we only choose the most important things for the task in the fastest time we could muster.
With the need to use smartphones, tablets, and laptops today for work and communication we cannot avoid using these devices. But there are ways we can do to increase our focus. First, drink lots of fluids. Science says that being dehydrated makes you sleepy and reduces your concentration.
Second, exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that if we use appropriately could help us to focus more on the situation at hand. And also makes more happy. Lastly, meditate. We need time to block the outside stimuli for us to focus on ourselves and making us realize what really matters.
I think it took more than 8 seconds to finish reading this article. Thank you. That means you’re aware. Now, what are you going to do about it?