Slightly different from but related to attention, is how easily we are distracted.
We know that regular switching between tasks creates attention lag and reduces our ability to focus. Over time, we get used to being distracted like this. It almost becomes a habit.
To the point that we end up subconsciously, but intentionally, distracting ourselves instead of focussing on that important bit of work that needs doing.
How many times do you ‘quickly check your email’ or ‘seeing if anyone has liked that LinkedIn post you uploaded earlier’ or ‘seeing if there are any important messages on your phone, when there isn’t even a notification?
We know that people check their phones (on average) around 100 times a day. They also check their notifications within 30 seconds of receiving them – whatever the notification source.
The thing is, the research shows that even the visual presence of a mobile phone can be distracting, and pull our thoughts away from our task at hand, even if we cannot physically see the screen. If you don’t see your phone, you are less likely to think about what’s going on in the virtual world, you are less likely to see notifications and less likely to start disengaging from the present.
Keeping your phone out of sight goes some way in avoiding getting distracted by it.