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5 ways to build your mental attention.

In 2005, Dr Glenn Wilson of the University of London Institute of Psychiatry conducted a small in-house experiment funded by Hewlett Packard. He found that workers distracted by incoming emails and phone calls experienced a 10-point fall in their IQ.

Fast forward to 2016 and our brains are under siege more than ever before, and the opportunities for distraction, unprecedented. Yet knowledge professionals still struggle to justify and create distraction-free time.

Why not simply hang up a Do Not Disturb sign as needed? Running counter to this common-sense move is a heady mix of the addictive potential of technology, the nature of the mind to wander and the neuroplasticity of the brain, which presents the disturbing possibility that we are shortening our attention spans through constant interruptions. Then there’s the increasingly prevalent affliction of FOMO (fear of missing out) which results in “continuous partial attention’” where our mind is constantly scanning for opportunities, contacts and activities in an effort to miss nothing.

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