Where Do You Pay Attention – The Cost of Attention Deficit and Economic Recessions

Imagine for a moment, that the internet is not free. In fact, the internet is a pay-by-the-minute service. And with this new lens, how would your viewing, browsing, searching habits change?

Well, in fact, you are paying with your attention. And there is only so much of that to go around.

So much of our daily task is paying attention to what is important and ignoring the noise. From unsolicited calls, emails and direct mail, to Facebook ads and the soon-to-arrive Twitter-Ads, we are being inundated with calls to action. Buy this new product, you can look slimmer with this, this will make you rich, this will make you famous, this will make you irresistibly sexy.

And yet, each day the task list seems infinite. Kids, work, play, health, food… It comes and it comes with a constant tenacity. And if we don’t pay attention to what we are doing, we may find we are staring at a bright shiny object, website, advertisement and not really clear on what we should do next.

And it is no exaggeration that “information overload” is a growing issue. Just as our laptop screen real estate gets bigger so does our appetite for information.

Here is a recent screen grab of my “working” dashboard of attention.

info-overload-2

Now, what I understand from another web worker, the Windows crowd don’t usually layer open windows like we do on the Mac. So the need for linear processing is more straight forward with Windows. But to shed a little light on what you see above let me give a quick outline of what I have open and actionable in one click.

MAC Apps:
FF with WordPress open, editing an Open Source Post
FF with Twitter windows (2X)
Mail app with personal email
iTunes player
Adium contact window (multi-protocol IM client)
Adium chat in progress
Cyberduck FTP Client – upload in progress

WIN Apps via Citrix:
My Corporate Outlook Mail and Calendar client
My Corporate Messenger client

But when it comes time to write, or work on a presentation or design, I am pretty clear on how my mind works. I like a clear deck. Browsing, IMing, digging for new information is one thing, but when the work of work needs to get done, I do my best to close everything but the app I’m working on. Email, IM, Facebook all off.

And then as a reward, when I am done, I can open it all back up again.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://wp.me/pAnee-uV

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