August 26, 2011
Bernie Goldbach (@topgold on Twitter) wrote a great post about Attention Crash. Inspired in part by Steve Rubel‘s original post, Bernie perfectly explains a growing problem for web professionals who spend increasing time listening and participating on the real-time web.
An attention crash affects my ability to think in private and to collaborate effectively. The human mind cannot keep working effectively if the flow of inputs keeps accelerating. As humans, we cannot manage a crescendo of attention-grabbing tasks.
I’m in this boat too. I’ve been feeling it a lot lately. I try my best to keep up with my friends and industry peers, news and breaking tech related stories, but it’s impossible to follow it all.
As a professional marketer who lives and breaths digital, it’s important that I am always aware of new products and services that can make my life easier and my performance in my work better. But the fire-hose of information never ceases.
Find the white space
I recommend reading Sabina Nawaz’s This Space Intentionally Left White post from the Harvard Business Review blog. Sabina writes that we should spend two hours a week unplugged and doing nothing but thinking. This idea works, it’s like social media meditation.
I have been finding the white space lately. In addition to this I’ve started talking to myself – out loud. I don’t recommend doing this anywhere you may be caught, or you could find yourself being carried off to the funny farm. Instead, find a quiet and secluded place to ask yourself the hard questions about the project you’re working on, or the problem that you have. Be sure to answer those questions out loud too.
If you can’t find a quiet place, many drivers use handsfree devices to talk on the phone in their cars. So you can probably get away with it while you’re stuck in traffic during your daily commute.
Do yourself the favor and find the time to hit the power button, think and find some clarity. Silence is golden.
What are you doing to avoid the Attention Crash?