Some facts for you, when an individual’s ‘rapid attention switching’ is linked to high stress and low productivity.

  • The average length of shots in cinema films has shrunk from 12 seconds in 1930 to less than four seconds today.
  • In 2004, we switched our attention to other screens every 150 seconds, by 2012 every 75 seconds and now in the era of Twitter, TikTok and other social media it is 47 seconds.
  • US students are checking social media an average of 118 times a day.
  • In addition, office-based personnel used to spend a third of the day at their desks. by 2004 it was half a day and now it’s almost 90%.
  • On average, there is a 25 minute lag between turning to an incoming distraction and resuming an interrupted task.

Ok, so how does this affect me? What can I do?

Social media might provide a break from serious work but it’s not a good choice especially if we routinely underestimate how long a social media break will last and overestimate how much value it will give us. Walking is a better life-choice.

Taking stock is the answer. Be tactical. You need to own your attention and be aware of when you’re losing it. Know your work peaks and troughs and work with them.

For example, plan a dip into the Internet 10 minutes before a meeting so it doesn’t become a deep dive. 

Companies meanwhile should think about cutting off email or at least restricting it to certain times of day. ‘Right to disconnect’ laws may be needed in the future to prevent homeworkers burning themselves out by spending long hours locked on the screen.

What does this mean for marketers?

Get to the point faster.

Connect ‘Attention’, ‘Interest’ and ‘Desire’ to ‘Action’ quickly and certainly don’t make the ‘Action’ process too laborious.

‘Fast-test’ your campaigns, newsletters, websites, ads and service.

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.)