Some Habits are Hard to Kick
I gave up 2 packs of Marlboros a day cold turkey about 20 years ago, but I can’t seem to kick the newsprint habit. Reading the print edition with my first and second cup of coffee is an essential morning ritual. Everyone seems to know it’s not good for me: it’s killing trees, it’s so yesterday, blah, blah. Nonetheless, I don’t want to quit.
Here’s why: it’s the one time each day when my full attention is focused on a single source that doesn’t invite distractions. No clicking on links that lead to multiple other (endlessly fascinating) sites. No responding to incoming Twitter or Facebook posts while trying to retain what I’m reading.
Now comes another reason for entering newsprint rehab. New York Times technology reporter Jenna Wortham writes in a recent article that while attention is the new currency, our brains potentially seem to be adapting to multi-tasking. Managing all those digital detours might actually be making us far better at juggling multiple inputs and even improving our efficiency.
We’re all trying to find that perfect combination of tools for getting consumer share of mind in an environment where available mental real estate is at a premium. Information overload will certainly not decrease – but we’re learning to deal. For us communicators, that means creative, compelling and concise digital content is more critical than ever.
Still, I think most of us long for that one moment each day when all stimuli but the task at hand can be ignored. For me, it’s taking the ever-shrinking print edition of the New York Times out of its plastic bag each morning.
What’s the one thing that gets your full attention each day?
Photo courtesy of Dierk Schaefer on Flickr.