Timesonline has published a good article about how we Have Forgotten How To Concentrate.
Image courtesy of ~Oryctes~
A lot of computer desktops present the user with a large number of distractions. Our attention spans seem to suffer from this multitasking and short ‘byte size’ texts. A good viral video should have a length of 3 minutes or visitors of the page will not finish watching it.
The book The Art of Concentration covers the subject of focusing on the here and now and thereby delivering more quality.
If you can read Dutch, I can recommend the book Op Informatiedieet by Guus Pijpers.
Here are some of my personal tips:
- Keep a notepad close to your work area. When you get an idea about something unrelated while you are working on a certain task, like “that reminds me, I should e-mail John”, write it down on the paper page. I find that a simple notepad with a pencil works best for me.
- Eliminate sound distractions, like background music. It is possible to block the sounds, but when you do this, you might notice that this ‘filter’ consumes energy.
- Sit in a place where people cannot find you easily.
- Meditation practise definitely lengthens your attention span, and so is reading books.
- I set a timer for 25 minutes and after that, reward myself with a 5 minutes pause. This is further described as the Pomodoro Technique.
- If you have trouble getting into your task: simply start and do not work too fast, take your time!
Internet usage definitely is addicting. A quote from the Times article:
Yet it takes, on average, 15 minutes to refocus after an interruption. Email is addictive because it brings reward: an invitation, a joke, some attention — simple lab-rat science. If I ate food, say, like I checked my digital portals, I’d think I had a serious problem.