Do you touch your cell phone 2617 times a day? The screen of the phone and the other screens in our lives are dominating our attention. And our attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
In one experiment, 94% of pedestrians in Chicago who were glued to their cellphone screens failed to notice there was cash hanging from a tree in their path.
Our kids are screwed. Let’s face it, they grew up with computers and cell phones. We didn’t.
Yes, they can play video games like a champion and design computer presentations like a pro, but they have trouble paying attention. I notice my adult kids cannot tolerate more than a moment of boredom.
I don’t handle boredom really well myself, but with age comes something called PATIENCE. I have the patience to do complex tasks and stick with longer term projects.
When I was a young mom, I took pride in my ability to multi-task. I could diaper a baby while teaching an algebra lesson while cooking dinner while writing a column for a magazine.
I can’t do that anymore. In fact, the more I TRY to multi-task, the less I accomplish. That’s part of the aging process. The ability to switch from one task to another diminishes. Turns out, that’s also why it’s hard to hear in a busy restaurant. Our brains can’t filter out irrelevant information as easily as they did when we were younger.
Being distracted, this article says, impairs our ability to perform “deep work”. In other words, if your attention is not pulled in a million directions, we can perform cognitively demanding tasks. As for me, I love deep work, deep relationships, deep thoughts, deep meaning. Living a distracted life is incompatible with a deep life.
So we each have a choice. The next time you are tempted to play a game on your phone, or cruise YouTube videos, this AARP article encourages us to ask, “Is this really what I want to do with my mind? And with my time?”
If you feel like your life is out of control, or spinning along too quickly, this is a starting point.