The internet is killing our ability to focus. It’s not just the constant interruptions and notifications that are to blame, but also the way the internet encourages us to seek out new information and multitask.
researcher Gloria Mark studies how people use computers and the internet. She found that people who are constantly interrupted while they’re working become less productive, and that it takes them longer to return to their original task.
Interruptions are especially problematic when we’re trying to learn something new, because they interfere with our ability to encode the information into our long-term memory.
multitasking is also detrimental to our ability to focus. Studies have shown that people who try to do two or more things at once are less productive than those who focus on one task at a time.
So why do we have such a hard time focus when we’re using the internet? Part of it has to do with the way the internet is designed.
The internet is full of distractions. There are always new articles, videos, and social media posts to look at. And when we’re trying to focus on one task, it’s easy to get pulled into another.
It’s also easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the internet. We can feel like we need to know everything, and that we need to be constantly learning new things.
This can lead to what’s known as information overload, which is when we have so much information that we can’t process it all. This can lead to anxiety and stress, and it can make it difficult to focus on anything.
The internet is also designed to keep us engaged. Social media sites use algorithms to show us content that they think we’ll find interesting or engaging.
And many websites use clickbait headlines and other techniques to keep us scrolling. This can make it hard to stop looking at a screen, even when we know we should.
So how can we focus when we’re using the internet?
First, we need to be aware of the ways that the internet is affecting our attention span. Once we’re aware of the problem, we can start to find ways to counter it.
There are a few things you can do to improve your focus when you’re using the internet.
First, take breaks. Get up and move around, or step away from your computer for a few minutes. This will help you clear your head and come back to your task refreshed.
Second, limit your exposure to distractions. Turn off notifications, and close tabs and windows that you’re not using.
Third, set a time limit for yourself. Decide how long you want to spend on the internet, and then stick to it.
Fourth, find ways to make the internet work for you. Use tools like RescueTime to track your time on the internet, and find ways to be more productive.
The internet is an amazing tool, but it’s important to use it in a way that doesn’t kill our ability to focus. By being aware of the problem, and taking steps to counter it, we can improve our focus and be more productive.