The Distracted Brain

Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Gloria Mark, Ph.D. Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity.” Her work examines multitasking, interruptions, and mood while using digital devices. The research shows that our attention spans are in fact getting shorter. And while it can feel like our ability to perform and be productive is getting harder, perhaps the myth of multitasking creates an unrealistic expectation of “keeping up?” She shares what is really going on in our brain when we are attentive and why we are less focused than we used to be. Learn a few tips for sharpening your attention span that goes beyond “just putting down your phone.”

Our attention span averages 47 seconds on a screen, and it is shrinking.

You might be surprised to know that if you are having trouble focusing on reading books, doing work, or even watching TV shows, you are not alone. Perhaps we need to have more unfocused time to balance against all the over-focusing we are challenged with today. In order to pay attention and respond appropriately in our multitasking, always-on, constantly connected, hyper-fast virtual, screen-based world of e-mails and texts, we might need to make more time to “monotask?” Especially since all that multitasking distracts our brains and prevents us from entering true focus—or as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would call it “flow.” (Hmmm, perhaps KICKin’ back a bit helps the brain to KICK IT IN?)

Fran Kick

FRAN KICK works with corporate and education organizations, groups, and associations that want to develop better leaders and smarter followers for faster long-term results. As an author, educational consultant, and professional speaker, he always shares relevant research, real-world insights, and actionable ideas YOU can implement to motivate yourself. So you can Kick It In and Take the Lead at work, in school, at home, and in life!