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How Digital Distractions Are Stealing Our Attention And Deep Thinking

Podcasts, meetings and social media, in a world dominated by constant digital distractions and a seemingly endless barrage of notifications, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain our focus. 

The battle for our attention is more fierce than ever, leaving many wondering if they’ve noticed their attention waning. 

Today, in the first episode of our three-part feature series, we delve deep into this modern-day conundrum. The Briefing co-host Jan Fran explores why it feels like her attention is disappearing and who might be stealing it, with insights from author of Distracted, Maggie Jackson.

People now check their phones, one hundred and eighty-five times a day, up to one hundred and eighty-five times a day. It varies within the individual,”

Ms Jackson said. 

Mary Czerwinski, the Research Manager of the Human Understanding and Empathy group at Microsoft, also sheds light on the drastic changes in the work routines.

People have 250 per cent more meetings every day than they did before the pandemic,”

Czerwinski says the remote work has also impacted individual’s attention spans.

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Last year, the Centre for Attention Studies at King’s College London conducted a survey of 2,000 adults, revealing some troubling trends. 

Among all the responders, 49 per cent of them felt their attention span was shorter than it used to be, while 47 per cent agreed that “deep thinking has become a thing of the past”.

When people are watching TV and using their laptop, on average, it’s estimated that they’re switching between the two 14 times an hour, when really they’re switching 240 times an hour on average.

Ms Jackson says the constant toggling between devices and tasks paints a vivid picture of the attentional demands of the modern world.

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