What is an attention span? How do you increase it? How do we stay focused?
Believe it or not, an attention span is when you focus on something for an extended period of time without switching your focus to something else. It is usually used when learning, studying, talking to people, making a payment, crossing the road and cooking etc.
So why don’t we have it? Where can I get one?
Studies have shown that over recent years social media has decreased our attention span from 12 seconds to 8 seconds of concentration. In theory, this doesn’t sound like much, but if you add it up, we are really losing our focus. These stats span from 2000-2015, so imagine what it would be like now? The luxury and immediacy of social media has made us dependant on the notion of instant communication. We expect everything to come instantly which has labelled us the impatient generation (people born in the age of the internet). We can barely make it through a paragraph without getting distracted by a tweet or a text.
This is dangerous news for the future. It has been recorded that, recently, the youth have been struggling to study at school because of distractions such as a phone or an ipad. The fact is, social media is decreasing our attention span. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are getting dumber. It just means that the way we learn has changed. The way we obtain knowledge has shifted and is evolving into something completely different. Who knows what this shift means for our attention spans?
This week I have developed a small attention test in the form of a video. Unfortunately, I have done these tests too many times on too many people, so I had trouble finding a volunteer. There are 3 tests. Try not to look at social media while watching, (it’s harder than you think). Pay close attention and see how you go!