In the modern attention economy, organizations compete ruthlessly for your attention. They have sophisticated algorithms to determine how to lure you in deeper and spend more time and money on their platforms.
The primary goal is to capture your attention. Social media platforms like Snapchat, Tik Tok, Twitter and Facebook have built entire business models around monetizing your attention.
Your attention is a precious commodity.
Giving away your attention has harmful effects. The unchecked usage of social media is leading to a rise in depression especially among teens. On a grave note, the suicide rates in this age bracket are also rising.
When developers start using techniques that exploit our cognitive weaknesses – something has gone wrong. The increasing daily use of social networks, apps, and online games has ill effects on our limited capacity to focus.
Have we lost the ability to focus our attention?
Not quite. We do however have to fight back against the forces that are using manipulative techniques to manipulate it.
Reclaim Your Mind
Observe and pay attention to when you reach for your phone, check out of productive work and start browsing social media networks. You will notice that these distractions occur at moments when you face a challenge. They provide an easy escape especially when you are unhappy in your relationships and with your job.
But instead of facing the unpleasant reality of your situation and changing it, these distractions provide a temporary relief.
Start By Stopping Multi Tasking
Toggling between several activities has harmful effects on the brain. The human brain is not designed to multi task. When you switch from one activity to another, you lose precious neural energy. As a result, the quality of your work suffers and mistakes increase. Stress levels increase as a consequence.
Multi tasking severely inhibits creativity.
Procrastination is often a result of avoiding negative emotions that are triggered by a certain task. When a particular task or situation triggers self-doubt, worry or boredom, we tend to push it away for later.
Here are a few things you can do to stop procrastinating:
- Start with the most difficult tasks in the morning when your mental capacity is recharged.
- Visualize the benefits of completing a demanding task that you have been putting off.
- Focus on a single task instead of toggling between several tasks at the same time.
- Silence your smartphone and close windows and apps on your computer.
- Turn off the notifications on your phone and computer.
- Work without interruptions for blocks of time. Set the timer for 20-25 minutes and take a short break at the end of each block.
- Take quick five minute breaks to refresh between these creative blocks of productive work.
- Avoid checking your email or browsing the internet when taking breaks. Instead, move around or stretch.
- Over time, increase the amount of time you spend on these focused spurts of productive work.
New to the game of detaching from the distractions of the modern world? Start realigning your attention and mental energy by incorporating simple techniques into your daily routine.
Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.
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