We Are Wasting Attention

Attention is the most fundamental human resource to our lives, relationships, and quality of work, yet none of us are connecting like we once did.

The intense focus that we once had seems to have gone, and with it, the satisfaction that comes from deep thinking. We need to get back on track by learning how to redirect our attention.

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The Essential Resource We’re All Wasting - Mindful

mindful.org

How we manage our attention drives how we manage ourselves. How we manage our collective attention drives collective performance.

At work, as the number of inputs and distractions increase, controlling our attention becomes an essential skill to master. When we focus our attention on a project or campaign, the chances are that focused attention will lead to our most exciting moments in life.

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Strong relationships are formed by the exchange of attention. If you have even been on a video call with someone that seems clearly distracted, how does it make you feel? When the family is engaged with their individual phones while eating dinner, how connected does the family seem?

Attention is a way to deepen a connection. When we understand the function of attention, we can be more conscious of how we use it.

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We frequently give too little thought to how best to manage distractions.

  • Being pulled away from whatever you are focusing on right now damages productivity.
  • The distractions come with greater stress, exhaustion, and physical pain.
  • A 2.8-second interruption can cause a doubling in mistakes.
  • Once you're interrupted, it takes nearly half an hour to return to the task.
  • To achieve the same level of deep focus will take another 15-minutes.

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Multitasking makes us better at being distracted and weakens self-control.

  • Research shows that multitasking undermines performance, increases mistakes, and prevents deep learning.
  • The more we multitask, the worse we tend to be at it.
  • Multitasking undermines our ability to weed out the irrelevant. Everything feels like a priority.

Yet, many people are waking up to the essential importance of attention and prepare effective responses to improve the quality of attention.

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