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Chris Brogan on the New Attention Deficit

Exit the inbox, turn off the screen and silence the ringer. Machines are robbing you of your ability to focus.
November 23, 2010

TV viewing is down. You'd think behavioral types would be cheering, but they know better. We dumped all that time into other screens: our phones and our laptops, mostly. We're giving ourselves a new version of attention-deficit disorder, one of our own device.

A lot of this is stuff we fell into by habit. Here are some ways to balance.

Schedule your correspondence. We read e-mail as a steady drip throughout the day. Stop. Pick two or three 30-minute windows. Also do this:

Pick a task. The ability to use multiple open tabs in our web browser is both a useful thing and an opportunity to be distracted over and over. Try this:

Don't answer the phone. If your phone were a debit card, it would be sucking your attention account dry. You do your business on the phone? Great. Set that thing to stun and let calls go to voicemail so you're not at the mercy of other people's whims. Also:

Maintain human contact. When you're with someone in person, work harder at not letting machines like your phone and your laptop distract you. This pays off in huge dividends over time. Letting the phone go to voicemail (which, by the way, used to be the norm) goes far in showing your appreciation for the person in your presence. Do this:

Everyone is busy. If you think your busyness is some kind of prestige symbol, think again. Full attention is the new black. You'll appreciate your new ability to focus, your new peace of mind, your new reputation as the person who is so there.

And what will you do with all that time? My guess is that you'll figure out your next move on your way to being much more successful, that's what.