I STRUGGLE TO FOCUS ON ANYTHING THESE DAYS. IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME?
Allow us to allay what we imagine is your key concern first: unless you’re also experiencing symptoms such as short-term memory loss, disorientation and problems with language, this is highly unlikely to be a sign of dementia. So, presuming your issue amounts to little more than general absent-mindedness, let’s explore a little deeper.
First, don’t fall for the myth that your smartphone bears the blame for your faltering focus: “Technology is often portrayed as the bad guy, but I’ve come across no research to suggest our ability to pay attention is on the decline,” says psychologist Dr Gemma Briggs. “But how we apply our attention may well be changing.” For example, social media and push notifications may have trained you to absorb and share a large volume of information quickly, but disinclined you toward immersing yourself in a four-hour research job. “We tend to overestimate how well we can multitask,” says Briggs. “It’s not that we’re more easily distracted, but rather that we allow ourselves to become surrounded by an increasing number of distractions.” Stress and anxiety also hamper concentration, so you can start by asking what else might be taking up mental bandwidth.
Of course, the theory is scant help when you’re up against deadlines. (Still with us, Ryan? Good.) When you’ve no choice but to knuckle down, try one of the following ( right).
DROWNING IN DATA? LET’S RECAPTURE YOUR ATTENTION