With the need to multi-task and sift through a never-ending flow of information, we have adapted – with the help of technology – to become more skillful at darting our attention spans from point to point. From an email, to the mobile phone, to a web site, to a download, to a conversation. And so on.
While this adaption is an important part of being productive in a digital information age, it also impacts our ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time. Switching attention between tasks reduces effectiveness and hampers our ability to get things done in one sitting.
I recently attending a workshop and received a 25 minute meditation recording which I use at the end of the day to relax, unwind and calm my mind. One thing that surprised me was how difficult it is to focus for the complete 25 minutes. While listening to the guided meditation (basically someone’s voice), I noticed that my mind was drifting onto other thoughts. Even after pulling my attention back to the recording, my mind kept darting onto other topics.
Gradually, the more I meditate with the recording the longer I am able to focus my attention entirely. As we continue to plough through life with our numerous distractions, it’s good to remember that we can also “work out” our concentration and focus from time to time. Turn off the devices and just relax for 25 minutes. Your mind and attention span will appreciate it.