Our ability to focus on what we choose, when we want to, is the most important factor in our ability to maximise our capabilities in many facets of life.
Too many of us are, wasting time on unproductive areas dealing with more stress and anxiety because we are losing the ability to focus every day. Buddhists call it not being able to control the wandering “monkey mind”.
Recent studies suggest that our reliance on digital technology is the main reason the monkey mind is wandering more today than it ever has. In the current ‘always on’ climate we are rarely in the present moment, focused on just one task for long enough to get the best out of ourselves. Instead, we are constantly distracted by the incoming alerts or checking our phones, messages and social media feeds.
Scientists are hired by companies such as Facebook specifically to develop algorithms to keep us clicking, watching and swiping for as long as possible. How many times do you start a task, see or hear a notification, and then spend 5-10 minutes away from the task we were doing before we realise it?
We are spending more and more time being impulsive and less time being intentional. The effect of it is negatively impacting our ability to focus with every minute we spend doing so, and it’s even worse for our children’s developing brains.
Each time we are pulled out of one task into another requires re-focus to get back to where we were this has a cognitive price to be paid in the effectiveness of our brain. Studies suggest that we are losing up to 40% of our productivity due to the time lost switching in and out of tasks throughout the day.
Time is the most precious and none renewable utility we have. To live a productive and successful life requires being focused.
The more complex and demanding the task, the more our ability to focus will be a factor in our success.
Focus can be trained like any other skill. The brain and mind are like a muscle and every day we have the opportunity to make it stronger. But only if we become aware of how distractible we are by the technology we love!