Attention Residue:


Do you know what attention residue is? It is the cost we pay when we switch from one job to another or engage in heavy multitasking. It takes 21 minutes for our brain to completely focus on our next task.

Every day, we’re at the mercy of our notifications, our emails and our unending distractions. And our brain that thrives at novelty gets easily hooked onto the variable rewards feature of our phone. Whenever we pick up our phone, we are promised something new, something different and something that ensures we matter in the world – in the form of a text or message from our loved ones.

While, we’re engaged with our online world of exponential information and speed, our regular lives can seem exceptionally boring and monotonous. And as a result, we’re overwhelmed juggling between the online and real worlds.

How can you avoid such brain burnout? By choosing to pay attention to where your focus, your eyes, and your distractions lie. By designing your work space to be less interruptive. By understanding that your digital devices are enticing because they give you the illusion of control over your free will, your choices and your voice.

After all, energy flows where attention goes.

Let’s choose wisely.



Understanding Multitasking: 


Here’s the thing with multitasking. You have to perform a little amount of thinking to get back on track each time you switch between things. People find it challenging to switch between tasks. Context switching is the process through which your brain switches from one task to the next.

Researchers that looked into this discovered that attempting to multitask with three or more things at once results in spending significantly more time switching between tasks than actually complete the assignment.



The Brain Drain Hypothesis:


“Although these devices have immense potential to improve welfare, their persistent presence may come at a cognitive cost. In this research, we test the “brain drain” hypothesis that the mere presence of one’s own smartphone may occupy limited capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance.

Results from two experiments indicate that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention—as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones—the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity. Moreover, these cognitive costs are highest for those highest in smartphone dependence.”

Source: Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten W. Bos. 2017

Link: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/691462



A Neuroscientist’s Take On Task Switching: 


“Every time you shift your attention from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if you’re attempting to multitask, you know, doing four or five things at once, you’re not actually doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesn’t work that way. Instead, you’re rapidly shifting from one thing to the next, depleting neural resources as you go.

So switch, switch, switch, you’re using glucose, glucose, glucose.

A decade ago, we shifted our attention at work every three minutes. Now we do it every 45 seconds, and we do it all day long. The average person checks email 74 times a day, and switches tasks on their computer 566 times a day.

So we find that when people are stressed, they tend to shift their attention more rapidly. We also found, strangely enough, that the shorter the amount of sleep that a person gets, the more likely they are to check Facebook. So we’re in this vicious, habitual cycle.”

~ Neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Levitin




The education of attention would be an education par excellence. – Williams James



How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas | Manoush Zomorodi | TED: 



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About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

The Digital Literacy Project: Disrupting humanity's technology addiction habits one truth at a time.

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