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The Importance of Focus

August 4, 2010

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom/ 

Why are we so prone to distractions?

  • The amount of information we now process is greater than ever before. The Sunday New York Times  contains more information than the average 18th century European learned in his lifetime. (David Rock, Beat Back Distractions: The Neuroscience of Getting Things Done)
  • New technologies and applications distract us easily. Think of how much time you can spend on social networking sites, the internet or YouTube without realizing it.   The cost of these distractions is that they use up a limited supply of attention  and brain power  making  us less effective when we do work that requires deeper thinking. (David Rock, Your Brain at Work)
  • The pace of work today means that there are an endless stream of interruptions. According to research by Professor Gloria Mark at the University of California in 2000, employees spent an average of 11 minutes on a project before being distracted. After an interruption it takes 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they do at all.

According to David Rock author of Your Brain at Work, these distractions can cause mistakes, make you forget creative ideas and lower your productivity.

Check back next Wednesday for Part 2!

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