Is it harder to focus nowadays?

   In my daily adventures through my mind I noticed that while doing something, I so easily get sidetracked by something else. There is always a message to check or a new like on Facebook or another task to do even though it’s not that urgent.

   In a podcast, Tai Lopez said that our attention span is less than the one a goldfish has. I thought that’s bullsh*t so I did a quick Google search (to be noticed that I interrupted the podcast to search something) and it seems that there is some truth here. Microsoft did this study and it seems that our multitasking ability increased, but our attention span it is indeed less than that of a goldfish.

   Honestly, I don’t know why we’re compared to goldfish, but it an interesting finding. No wonder it’s harder to do something nowadays. If we cannot pay attention more than 8 seconds (that’s what the study concluded), it might take longer to finish something. I believe this might be a problem because it can lead to loosing ideas. Did it ever happen to you to start writing something and you had some very interesting ideas and after a while (8 seconds probably), you stopped to check your phone or something and some of those ideas escaped your mind? It happens to me.

   It actually makes sense. Our smartphone is the main reason this happens, especially if we have the notifications on. At every sound it makes, we feel the need to check it. Basically, we’re its b*tch. There are so many apps installed on this thing and each of it “needs” to be checked to make sure we’re up to date with everything. Even when the notifications are off, we still feel the need to check just to make sure we don’t miss anything.

   How easy/hard is it for you to stay focused?

61 thoughts on “Is it harder to focus nowadays?

  1. Yesterday, I literally stopped writing in the middle of a sentence to check my Twitter messages. Twice – in the same sentence! I wouldn’t mind, but I was on a tight deadline to get the article finished.

  2. I think that because I am older and I got my first PC when I was in my late 30’s and my first Smartphone in my 50’s, I am still able to focus really well. I think that my OCD helps out there too; because, I tend to hyper-focus on most tasks.

  3. I think it is harder to ficus, it takes extra Energy and commitment. There is Always Something t distract us from what we intended to do, even by Walking in the streets, there are adds everywhere, there’s Always Something going on. I think it is definitely harder to focus nowadays.

  4. I think we have more to focus on in recent years. Financial struggles are becomming more common, more mothers are working, constantly told we have to fit exercise, cooking healthy meals, taking the kids to thousands of groups (even if the kids hate it like mine did) etc. I’m a flitter most of the time but with a book or a good film I can apply more concentration.

    1. There are indeed more things we need to focus on, but maybe it would be better to focus on one thing at a time? That way we ensure we’re concentrating all of our resources to that thing.

      1. Ha! I’m a teacher so I’m used to many more but there’s always a feeling neither get full and total attention in this situation. If needed, I will stop them and do one at a time. It’s usually just car related questions from one and sweet requests form the other – Ha!

  5. I don’t like background noise because it is distracting. I find it difficult to focus because I am aware of all the stuff that just is happening around me. It’s like this due to the training of the brain, instead of focused “tunnel vision”, need to be aware of peripherals. Because every one is so busy and needs to do more to have more to achieve more. And there is “so much more MORE” but still the same hours in a day, and the same bodily functions and limitations.

    1. That’s why a tight schedule might help with this so we won’t feel the need to do all at once. But background noise is the worst. I use noise cancelling headphones when this is the case.

  6. I would love to know how many times I pick up my phone and my IPad in a normal day. I’m sure it’s a hundred times or so and I even have my notifications turned off which leaves me wondering what I do have so I check anyway. So what was the point to me turning off the notifications I ask myself? I have no idea but I know how much I love camping where there is no service, it’s used kind of like an intervention for me lol! Great post, thanks for the reminder to step away sometimes!

  7. I think it is harder for those of us with a compulsive streak. (like me). I am very easily distracted by this modern world and all its buzzing and noises and interruptions.
    However, once focused in on something or other that fuels me I can quickly get into that ‘zone’ area where I am so focused in that I don’t feel hunger, pain, or my cell phone buzzing in a pocket. And it is easier than ever to indulge and get lost (focus in) in one’s passionate interests–thanks to modern technology and our busy culture which doesn’t sleep!
    So I think it is both yes and no.

    1. Yes, thanks to technology we can focus and dive deep into our passions. But when the passion isn’t there and we still need to focus, it might be a problem.

  8. This is so true – my attention span when it comes to reading is awful, and a lot of the time it affects how quick I get through my reading for uni, but it’s so hard to get out of the habit! I definitely need to work on it!

  9. i keep my phone on silent and it sits on a desk in my kitchen. i don’t drag it around with me. i open one window at a time on my browser. i limit the social media platforms i engage with. i do this because i found that not doing it completely interfered with my concentration, and my anxiety does that well enough on it’s own. i suspect that the rise in ADHD has much to do with phones and computer time, especially in young children.

    1. When we are surrounded with “interesting” things from every corner of our lives, we try to notice them all. I think this leads to developing a habit of multitasking, but multitasking implies focusing on many things at once. Sure, it can be an asset, but it can also be a problem when we need to focus on only one thing.

  10. I haven’t social media on my smartphone and notebook.
    Only weather app. (My out window weather station temporarily broken).

    If I want to focus on something I am going to the open air or to some no people cafe.
    The best way to focus for me is to take paper notebook and pencil.

    If you pay for something little attention, it doesn’t cost your attention as a rule, that’s all. 🙂

    1. I notice so many things though. And I need people. Specially a person. To help bring me back to focus. I dunno. On my own I’m just a compass without direction. Other people are the magnets to which I can… just.. I dunno…

  11. There was an article I read in my college English class not so long ago entitled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” which dealt with this very topic – though more in the vein that Americans are reading less and less, due to lack of ability to focus long enough to read anything longer than 140 characters these days. If you can focus long enough to read an article, it was a good one.

    For myself, it seems to depend on a few random factors. What I am doing, how important I consider it, and if I can sit long enough with my fibromyalgia pain! Sometimes, I’m the epitome of focus – others I’m more like, “I am going to… Oh look, shiny!”

    1. It’s just obvious. I don’t know why it’s such a “fascinating” subject only for philosophising.. it needs to be dealt with otherwise we have a generation or more of people who just…. yes they are fine as individuals but it allows for the breakdown of the global community network structure.

    2. I’m not sure that Google is making us stupid. It brings a huge help in clearing our mind from knowing some stuff, but that’s pretty much it. Actually, we have more brain power at our disposal to be creative. But as you said, what’s important for us determines where our focus goes.

  12. I generally have the tv on in the background for the noise (I can’t stand the silence otherwise) and phone sometimes even in another room…. mostly because I’ve lost it. But it helps for me to get head down bum up. However doesn’t matter how many tactics I use, if I’m not in the mood, nothing can help me focus…

      1. I tend to wander around until I found something else to focus on. Or bake. Then because I’ve been productive I can then focus on the original project (often study or writing)…

  13. I turn my phone sound/notifications off and put it on my desk and leave my internet off a lot of the time when I need to focus on something else. Internet access is extremely distracting. This is also why I prefer to read physical papers and books, or my Kindle paperwhite because the distractions aren’t there like they are on a computer, tablet or some E-readers such as the Kindle Fire. I can focus for a long time when I really get into things, it’s gotten harder the past couple years but I’m working on improving it. I also try to do one thing at a time, completely and thoroughly, then move on to the next. I can multitask but like most people it negatively affects the quality of whatever it is I’m doing.

    I think it’s something that has to be worked on, the less you take time off from electronics and practice focusing, the harder it becomes over the years.

    1. I totally agree with you. Distraction becomes a habit in time and it will become tougher and tougher to focus on only one thing at a time.

  14. It’s astonishing how Smartphones are such a Double edged sword – having access to a world of information allows us to tackle anything that may come our way. Yet, they can so easily suck us out of reality, and before we know it, the world has passed us by.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks! And it’s interesting to see that even though we have access to information, we don’t really access it.

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