We are now, many of us, so addicted to distraction that we are way beyond looking at a phone when it beeps or answering a question that is inconveniently asked or taking a whistling kettle off the boil. No, no, no – that is SO five years ago. Now we have such acute distraction addiction that we begin to suffer from withdrawal… well… almost immediately. The phone doesn’t need to beep for us to compulsively check Instagram.
So, work becomes drawn out and agonising what with the procrastination followed by the distraction addiction. Oh, but it’s not just work now, is it? It’s also conversation. Surreptitiously looking over shoulders, glancing at screens, earwigging on the other, more raucous chat happening at the other end of the table.
Meditation is all fine and good for some but you can’t empy your head when you’re meant to be compiling a strategy document, reading a bedtime story or listening to someone’s woeful tale of a leaking roof or a leaking marriage or something. You have to be there concentrating and not wondering if that Amazon order has been dispatched.
We are splintering ourselves. It’s kind of fun. But kind of scary. Attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8 seconds. Goldfish, by the way, have an attention span of 9 seconds. I wonder how they’d get on with a smartphone.