Attention crisis
Attention crisis

LIndsay Lapaquette

Working with organizations who want to develop the strategic communication skills needed to drive employee engagement, performance and productivity.

The Attention Crisis: Is Technology Really to Blame?

People are not paying attention to one another the way they used to.

We’re simply not present in our interactions with others the way we used to be.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Attention crisis

Have you ever had the experience of being at a restaurant with someone who is texting under the table?  Or maybe they ask you to wait a minute while they reply to a text.  Or two.  Or twenty.

Or perhaps you’ve been in a work meeting giving a presentation and while you’re presenting someone gets up to answer their phone.  Or they reply to an e-mail as you’re talking.

In each of these situations, the person is clearly not paying attention to you., even if they may be giving you half of their attention.

They are there with you physically, but their minds are engaged elsewhere.

They are not truly present.

Is technology causing people to be less present?

There has been much speculation about the prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) having skyrocketed.  Technology is being blamed.  However, a recent article by the Psych Congress Steering Committee concluded that rates of ADHD are not actually increasing.

We’ve nonetheless all undoubtedly noted this increase in distractibility.

In my opinion, the underlying factor to our lack of presence is not actually related to an attention problem.  Nor is technology truly to blame.

The real problem is that we’re using technology as a way to numb our feelings.  We’re using it as a way to disconnect from our emotions.

This is the same as drinking to numb our emotions, overworking to numb our emotions, or overeating to get away from our feelings.

It’s all the same root cause.  Technology is simply another outlet that allows us to not feel and deal with our feelings.

This is a concern because we’re doing it unconsciously without even realizing it.

It’s impacting interactions with our colleagues and with our families at home.

Attention crisis

It’s a particular problem if we don’t have alternate skills to cope differently with the stressors in our life.  We’re bored, we grab our phone. We’re excited, we grab our phone to share it on social media.  We’re mad, we grab our phone and we numb out by scrolling through post after post.

Technology is only detrimental when used unconsciously

Like myself, you might have the desire to make sure that you’re using your phone and other technology consciously.  You might find yourself realizing that you want to make real decisions about when to engage with technology, rather than letting your impulses unconsciously control your actions.

If so, my challenge to you would be to pay attention to the feelings that are drawing you to technology.  Once you’re grabbed it, think back to what you were doing, thinking and feeling right before you grabbed your phone.

Try to identify what your feeling was in the moment and how that might have impacted your decision to use technology.

Attention crisis

With awareness comes conscious choice

Technology is not all bad.  It has brought lots of great advances, has created unprecedented access to knowledge and a connectivity to the larger world that did not exist before.

What’s important is making sure that when we use it, we’re using it consciously.

If you and your team are interested in learning more about how to be present with your emotions and not use technology as a way to numb your feelings, get in touch.  I’d be happy to chat with you about how we can work together to create an environment of stress free communication at work.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

The Integrated Brain State: Balancing Thoughts and Feelings

The Fine Art of Doing Nothing

The 4 Foundational Skills for Effective Communication

Lindsay Lapaquette works with organizations who want to develop the strategic communication skills needed to drive employee engagement, performance and productivity. Her clinical background as a former Speech-Language Pathologist and her work with First Nations organizations have led to a holistic, client-centered, analytical approach to improving communication. 

Lindsay’s work has been profoundly influenced by her experience as a parent to two children who have pervasive mental health challenges, as well as the premature loss of both of her parents.  These experiences have contributed to Lindsay’s passion in helping others shrink their reactive zone so as to attain stress-free communication.

To learn more about Lindsay’s keynotes, workshops and consultations, visit lindsaylapaquette.com

Attention crisis

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Attention crisis

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