Most of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask—read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen—a neuroscientist and a psychologist—explain why our brains aren't built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.
There is hope!
There a few proven strategies helping you alleviate the stress on your cognitive control limitations improving cognition, decreasing the accessibility of interactive technologies, decreasing your boredom and minimising anxiety of missing out. Regardless of the scenario, the suggested strategies are meant to be adapted to the specific situation, and by applying them you will get better at maintaining your focus on what is important rather than being what is not critical at the moment.
Don’t expect that changing your behaviour will be easy; we’ve been susceptible to distractions and interruptions for our entire lives but technologies impact on the our minds and has caused us to over indulge. Our ability to control our distracted mind has spiraled out of control because of the technological game changes. There is hope however, to get you back on track and focussed.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How might I increase my metacognitive view of how my own mind performs in a given
situation, and in what ways are my actions not in line with how I should behave based on my
goals and understanding of my limitations?
2. How might I change my physical environment to reduce accessibility of potential distractors?
3. How might I assess whether I am self-interrupting because of boredom, and how my might I
make the task more interesting to stave off that boredom?
4. How might I recognize when my actions are driven by my anxiety about missing out on
something in my virtual world, and what steps can I take to reduce that anxiety?