May 20, 2021

Measure your attention span

 We often keep hearing about how the attention span of humans is dwindling. Popular research articles declare that the average attention span of humans is now 8 seconds and we are lagging behind the goldfish (9 seconds apparently). 

Instead of arguing over whether such studies and conclusions are valid and accurate, let's do a personal exercise.

On a normal day, how long are you able to sit with a task at hand? 

Let's say, you are reading a book. How long can you read without getting distracted by your phone or other temptations?

You are cooking lunch. How long can you focus on this task without picking up your phone?

When you are engaged at work, putting together a presentation/document, how long can you focus on this task without checking email/Slack/instant messaging/social media, etc?

I'd highly encourage you to do this experiment for a week and note down the times you have been able to focus on various tasks. 

You could refer to this sample template to track:

Let's not judge or criticize ourselves if the results aren't what we wanted them to be. The first step to change is becoming aware. 

All of us have experienced a state of distractions and an inability to focus from time to time. But is this becoming a norm rather than an exception? The above exercise will help us understand our patterns.

It is also interesting that once we start becoming conscious and self-aware, we tend to focus better.

In my next post, I'll be sharing 5 strategies that have helped me increase my attention span.

Related articles:

Win back your attention and focus

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