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Reclaiming Your Attention

Posted at January 21, 2018

As I've been working to improve Bluebird Pocket Planner, I've also been casually on the look out for news articles that echo the reason why I started this paper-based way of working: It's really hard to stay away from smartphones and all the social media signals they send us, and it can be even harder to get meaningful work done amid all that noise.

Below are just a few of those selected articles, as well as a few key excerpts. But do click through and give them all a read, as many communicate this idea far more eloquently than I ever could:

Alex Wood on realizing his smartphone addition, like so many of us:

After my shower, I checked Twitter. Do you realise how hard it is to dry yourself with one hand? Breakfast fought for my attention as I scrolled through my tweets. Twitter won. Breakfast went cold. Instagram was top of mind as I walked to the station. I was so absorbed I forgot to look ahead. Then I crashed into a commuter. She was taking a selfie. I’m a smartphone addict. And I'm not the only one.

The Memo

Victoria Song describes the panic of losing her phone during a crisis situation:

[P]riority No. 1 was finding my phone. Not just so I could get home and find my friends, but because my entire life was on there. My bank information. My work and personal emails. The contact information of my friends and family. My horrible emo poetry. Anyone who had it could potentially access everything there is to know about me. I don't think I truly relaxed until I had it safe in my hands again. [. . .] I don't know what that says about me, or you, or about society as a whole. All I know is that I'm trapped on this exhausting roller coaster of needing—but hating—my smartphone, and I don't know how to get off.

PC Mag

Eric Andrew-Gee on how smartphones make us "stupid, antisocial, and unhealthy":

To ensure that our eyes remain firmly glued to our screens, our smartphones – and the digital worlds they connect us to – internet giants have become little virtuosos of persuasion, cajoling us into checking them again and again – and for longer than we intend.

10 years into this age of connectedness, we have learned something troubling: Being connected to everyone all the time makes us less attentive to the people we care about most.

The Globe and Mail

Craig Mod on smartphones and social media encroaching on his focus:

The medium was no longer the message, it was just an asshole. [...] I want my attention back.

...and how he got back on track by disconnecting:

Disconnection helped me remember what the mind felt like before I had lost my attention. Reminded me how it felt to wash off that funereal glaze that seemed to coat us all, and to return to the world — however thick the gloom — with clarity and purpose, able to help out in far better ways than I could have had I stayed online.