Sunday, January 23, 2011

Take Charge of Your Attention

Do you struggle to find time your family or even yourself? Do you not have the spiritual life you truly desire because you don't even have time for the Creator of the Universe? Do you feel good about what you accomplished each day, or simply frustrated at what is still not done on your "to do list?"

Society is screaming for your undivided attention. You can just say no! Consider the choice with these tips from AARP's article, "May I Have Your Attention, Please."

Welcome to the Attention Crisis—also known as the "culture of distraction," information-fatigue syndrome," or simply "modern life." It's what happens when technology's flashing, beeping, dun-dun-daaahhhing stimuli scramble your focus, shred your nerves, and squander your productivity. Add an understaffed workplace (or the stress of job hunting), dealing with kids at home and aging parents, and other demands of 21st-century life, and it's no wonder your attention strains at the seams.

"We're really facing the limit of human ability to cope with stimuli in our environment," says Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. And the stimuli keep multiplying. Researchers at the University of California—San Diego recently found that, on average, Americans hear, see, or read 34 gigabytes worth of information a day—about 100,000 words—from TV, the Internet, books, radio, newspapers, and other sources. That figure has grown more than 5 percent annually since 1980.

What's worse, our coping mechanisms may increase our stress levels. We multitask frantically, but our to-do lists only grow. We pay "continuous partial attention," according to former Microsoft executive Linda Stone, who writes a blog called The Attention Project: we skim furiously, hoping not to miss anything.

We fall into black holes of time and emerge blinking, hours later, having accomplished nothing. We forget appointments, abandon projects, and risk our safety (16 percent of auto fatalities in 2008 were linked to distraction, up from 12 percent in 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports).  Read the entire article.

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