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The Danger of Continuous Partial Attention

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240254

entrepreneur.com

The Danger of Continuous Partial Attention

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A Common Pitfall in a Connected World

A Common Pitfall in a Connected World

Our world today is more connected than ever. And one pitfall in our hyper-connected world as it intersects with our business relationships and networking is a state of continuous partial attention. It is a state where people give half attention to what they do - all the time.

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Face-to-Face Networking and Social Media

When attending a function of any type, it is increasingly common to find people paying attention to their mobile devices instead of effectively connecting with others.

While our desire to connect and be connected is a strength, we can lose the connection with the person in front of us when we simultaneously pay attention to our phone.

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Working While Distracted

Most of us work at our computers with notifications switched on: email, social media and different streaming services.

It is very easy to lose track of what you were last doing. Continuous partial attention keeps you from being alert, attentive, and focused. Social media is great to stay in touch, but we need to know when to focus on face-to-face interactions and put notifications on Do Not Disturb.

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Inner, other and outer focus

Inner, other and outer focus

We need three kinds of focus:

  • Inner focus guides our values and decisions.
  • Other focus smooths our...

Continual partial attention

We increasingly find it difficult to focus on the hear and now without checking our phones. We seem to go through life in a state of "continual partial attention." We're there but not aware of where we put our attention.

While modern technology has its advantages, our attention span is suffering. Teachers are noticing that current students find it hard to read books that previous students used to enjoy. Teachers think that students' ability to read has been compromised by short text messages and video games.

Two main varieties of distractions

  • Sensory: We can more easily tune out from sensory distractions. For example, the feel of your tongue against your upper palate is an incoming stimuli your brain weeds out.
  • Emotional distraction is more difficult to tune out. When you overhear someone mention your name, it's almost impossible to ignore.

Those who focus best are relatively immune to emotional disturbance.

Being Mediocre

Most of us are in the 'mediocre' zone, making a living and trying to do our best in confining circumstances. We try to work, raise a family, and try to be happy.

Aiming to reach towards t...

Procrastination

Procrastination is generally looked down upon and thought of as laziness, but it is your body telling you that you need to back off and think about what you are doing. 

You should try and figure out why you are procrastinating, as it can be a symptom of something broken in your life.

Zero-Tasking

We all multitask at some point or the other, some of us more than others. Our attention and intelligence are deviated and substracted during multi-tasking.

Single-tasking is better than multi-tasking, as focusing completely on one thing at any given time is optimal. Even better is to move into silence and nothingness by doing zero-tasking. The more we zero-task (another name for mindfulness or meditation), the more we progress into creativity and excellence.