Barking Up The Wrong Tree
March 13th, 2023
Here’s how to increase your attention span, according to neuroscience:
- You Can’t Focus Forever: Stop trying. Get your sleep, take breaks, and find a rhythm that works for you.
- Moods Matter: Ask yourself not just what you want to get done but how you want to feel. Negative emotions reduce mental stamina. Send fewer emails. Email is stressful. (Except for my emails, which are like beautiful songbirds on a glorious spring day.)
- Rote Recharges You: Scrolling social media has its place. It can be soothing, like popping bubble wrap. Use it for breaks and rewards. Set alarms so it doesn’t pull you into a rabbit hole.
- Multitasking Is A Nightmare: Switching costs add up and make you less productive and more stressed. One thing at a time.
- Interruptions: More external interruptions mean more internal interruptions. To the degree you are able, control distractions or put boundaries on them. Turn off notifications. If all else fails, go full-Odysseus-and-the-sirens: use internet blocking software.
- Find Your Rhythm And Have A Plan: Sometimes the thing we know the least about is ourselves. Watch yourself work, take notes, and find a rhythm that works best for you. The more you tailor the above advice, the better it will work.