Concentration Killers: The Age of Multitasking

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did you know there has been more information available to humans in the last 30 years than there was in the 5,000 years prior?

Technology has changed everything, and advancements in social media, smartphones, and other communication methods have changed the way we access information on a daily basis. Now, with a single click of the mouse we are able to acquire millions of pieces of information from all over the world.

Human want information faster than ever in today’s age. Think back to the days when you would log on to your dial-up internet service provider, go grab a bite to eat from the kitchen and come back ten minutes later and finally be connected to the internet. We thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Now, we become impatient when it takes ten seconds to load a page on the web.

Due to the accessibility of information within seconds on the Internet, humans find it hard to remain concentrating on one task at a time, which for many people makes it very difficult to complete necessary work.

Because of this trend, many students and employees have continuous partial attention spans, meaning their attention is given to multiple things at one time, rather than focusing on the task at hand.

Although multitasking is a great skill to have and can be beneficial in the workplace, many people are using their multitasking skills in unproductive ways such as social media, e-mail, and entertainment websites. Why wouldn’t they when “like us on Facebook” and “connect with twitter” can be found on almost every business or entertainment website and e-mail on the web.

Social media and technology are becoming a part of our everyday living, but does this hurt our focus on concentration on our ability to learn and grow as people? Here are the culprits for our lack of concentration…

Concentration Killers

Social Media

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Tumblr. MySpace. Vine. YouTube. These are some of the main social media streams and the list goes on and on.

Nowadays, every business that wants to grow and be successful needs to be connected to social media in some way. According to Business Insider, 93% of marketers use social media for their business. Throughout the internet there are millions of social media badges and buttons that will link you back to the platform.

Everywhere you look on the web you are surrounded by social media. This makes it so easy to multitask between status updates, tweets, and the work you actually need to do. If you feel the need to check your social media feeds often, it is best to do it during your breaks when you don’t have a task at hand. Focus on your priorities because social media isn’t going anywhere.

E-mail

A lot has changed from the days we would write a letter, lick a stamp, and send an message off through the postal service only for it to arrive to the receiver a week later. Now, we can type a message, hit “send”, and have it arrive to the receiver’s inbox in a matter of seconds.

E-mail has completely changed the way we communicate with each other.

Although e-mail is a big part of communication in a professional setting, those who find the need to check and reply to every single e-mail the moment it is received are the ones who don’t get much done. It is important to realize the messages that are important and the ones that can wait.

Newsletters, social media updates, most personal messages, and things along those lines can wait. Instead of checking you e-mail every few minutes, set aside a time period where you check your e-mails. We also recommend that everyone has two e-mail addresses, one for social use and one for professional use. This allows you to filter out what’s important and requires immediate action and what can wait.

Image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Smartphones

What may be even more distracting that the ping of a new inbox message is the vibration of a smartphone. With smartphones, social media and e-mail are combined in addition to thousands of other potential concentration killers.

25% of  smartphone owners between the ages 18 to 44 say they can’t even remember the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them, according to Business Insider.

Checking your smartphone is a habit for almost every owner, but making it a habit to check it only during unproductive time can save you a lot of time in accomplishing whatever needs to be done first. Smartphone usage also interferes with learning, since the majority of students in college and high school have their smartphones on them at all times.

Snapchat, Candy Crush Saga, and Clash of Clans can wait.

Other Common Concentration Killers

  • Boredom
  • Nagging thoughts
  • Stress
  • Being tired
  • Hunger
  • Depression
  • Attention disorders/ADHD

Which are your biggest concentration killers?