Why you should budget your attention like money

It probably seems like I’m blaming my work environment for my struggle to focus, shifting the blame for my own (lack of) discipline onto “the company”. But I am not making this up. There is ample evidence that technological advancements affect our attention span. A recent study found that the internet physically alters our brains so that we have shorter attention spans and worse memory. Dr Joseph Firth, senior researcher at Western Sydney University, said The telegraph that high levels of internet use could impact brain function: “The unlimited flow of prompts and notifications from the internet encourages us to constantly maintain shared attention, which in turn may decrease our ability to maintain our focus on a single task. “The study also found that smartphones are replacing our ability to memorize facts. You probably know what it feels like to subconsciously reach for your phone, or google something you don’t quite remember, or the excitable “ping” in your head when you open a tab for Twitter. There have always been things in the office to distract us (the stimulating conversation around the water cooler, perhaps) but with the internet it’s a lot easier to be distracted surreptitiously, to slip in and out of our workflow without even noticing it.

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