Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

Avoiding Attention Crash

Attention Crash

[blackbirdpie url=”!/topgold/status/106980495216226304″]


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?


View more posts from this author
  • I have 1980s Dash One flight manuals with whole pages stamped “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” and based on your blog post, I’m going to add that kind of content to a Blurb book I’m creating this semester. Thanks for the idea!

  • That’s a neat idea! I love it.
    Thanks for the inspiration Bernie. Good luck taming that hose.

  • Anonymous

    Nice one, Dave. I like the idea of applying “white space” to living, not just a resume or blog post. 

  • Thanks.

  • Tammy Hart Dyer

    Waaay back in college I took a psychology class with a required text.  I think ti was called “The creative mind”. What stuck with me from that book was that there may be a definitive cycle to developing new ideas.  The cycle involved intense exposure and focus on a “problem” followed by a “letting go”.  It used examples like Einstein and others who followed this cycle – knowingly or not.  It was in the down-times when the thinker had let go of the problems they were working on that the “answers” came to them.  

    It IS harder than ever today to unplug but our minds need that quiet time to work their magic if we expect great ideas.  Good for you for acknowledging it.

  • Thanks so much Tammy.

    The book sounds like an interesting one. I think taking the time to shift the type of information we receive also helps. I’m all about technology and marketing, but I know that if I shift the content that I consume, I’ll be a better person.
    Finding time to unplug from it all frequently will also help.

  • Great post, Dave. Glad I stumbled on this one. Like you, I’m in the business of being plugged-in all the time (oh, and we’re fellow Nashvillians!). And like so many others, I find myself battling the onslaught of information daily.

    I’ve taken a slightly different approach here, and one which you outlined briefly in your “power button” post: change your physical space. It seems so obvious, and perhaps that’s why we fail to do it so often. I work at home, and tend to be alone for the majority of my working hours. Rather than stare at the same wall all day, I do my best to change things up, working at a coffee shop, or a client’s office, or even going down to the park or somewhere to just sit on my iPad for a while.

    Here’s the beauty of this: it adds in-between time. As you point out, it’s important to find the white space in your day. But if I’m working at a coffee shop, well, I’m still working. But the commute over to the coffee shop adds a nice amount of empty space in my day. Do this a couple times and I’ve managed to find plenty of white space.

    Anyhow, thanks again for this post. Made me stop and think a bit today, and that’s exactly what I needed :)

  • Thanks Mike!
    Be sure to talk to yourself during your commute!


  • I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    – Dave

    Dave Delaney
    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

    Confirm that you know Dave Delaney:

    You are receiving Invitation to Connect emails. Click to unsubscribe:
    (c) 2011 LinkedIn Corporation. 2029 Stierlin Ct, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.

  • Pingback: My Goal to Streamline, De-clutter, and Focus to Reach a Zen State |