Everything that is made has one objective: grab your attention. The messages your friend sends you on facebook, the emails you receive from your colleagues, the posters you see as you walk to the station. Everything is fighting for your attention. Not only is everything fighting for your attention, everything is designed to capture your attention.
The ad for clothing, will show an awesome coat on a supermodel. The ad for shoes will grab your attention by showing beautiful white sneakers on an athlete. The ad for sunglasses will show the most stylish looking pair of sun glasses in perfect lighting. This is today’s world. We have been swarmed with powerful emotive advertisements, whether it’s on your laptop or you’re talking a walk to catch a bus. Perhaps you notice the massive building sign that says “Deloitte”. Even this blog post was created to grab your attention.
When we keep seeing flashy things around, our brain keeps context switching and there is a small price we pay. We search for a YouTube video that we want to see and after that we get lost in the suggestions. Unrealistic thumbnails and headlines appear making it impossible not to click on them. Every time we shift our attention, there’s a price we pay. It may be a few micro seconds, it could be hours once we stumble down a series of cute dog videos - but it all adds up.
I’m not saying don’t watch those videos or don’t buy those awesome shoes. I’m saying, there is a right place and time to do any particular thing. We need discipline now more than other, as those advertisements or videos have been created so using psychological sciences to make your brain respond. We lose time every time we context switch and it adds up.
What I’m saying is, when you are set on the task - focus solely on the task at hand in the present.
When you open your laptop to do an assignment, just do only that. Open up research, the marketing criteria and start writing. When you’ve done enough to warrant a break, don’t open up any app like YouTube, Instagram, or check your messages. Instead do one of the following or a combination: take a walk, meditate, hydrate, read a chapter, listen to a podcast, reflect, think.
You might ask: well when should I check instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook personals, emails - not between crucial tasks, do it as a task itself and not every time you have a few minutes. For example: I will check my instagram for 5 minutes at lunch time. Designate a time. When you lose your attention, you will lose momentum and you will lose the time you set aside to finish the things that matter.
Everything is designed to be appealing, but you have the right and will to decide what truly warrants your attention and at what time.