On being a baby and what they see, now that I have your attention

Monday, 4 October, 2010

Babies and young children don’t so much have a spotlight like focus of attention as they do a lantern of attention, meaning that while they can actually see more than adults, they do so with far less precision.

How do babies pay attention? What is it like to look at the world like an infant? The question is particularly interesting because the ability to pay attention, focusing that spotlight on a thin slice of the stage, depends on the frontal cortex, that lobe of brain behind the forehead. Alas, the frontal cortex isn’t fully formed until late adolescence – ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny – which means that it’s just beginning to solidify in babies. The end result is that little kids struggle to focus.

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Test your focus, if you have the resolve to answer 24 questions

Thursday, 10 June, 2010

Have the relentless distractions of internet diversions and digital gadgets eroded your concentration and focus? Take the test and find out.

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Are newspaper articles too long for their own good?

Tuesday, 12 January, 2010

Do newspaper feature articles lose focus as a result being in-depth? While online reporting tends to be to the point and reasonably succinct, are the traditionally longer newspaper articles turning off readers?

One reason seekers of news are abandoning print newspapers for the Internet has nothing directly to do with technology. It’s that newspaper articles are too long. On the Internet, news articles get to the point. Newspaper writing, by contrast, is encrusted with conventions that don’t add to your understanding of the news. Newspaper writers are not to blame. These conventions are traditional, even mandatory.

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If it worked for Einstein it has to work for the rest of us

Friday, 9 October, 2009

The key to Albert Einstein’s success was to intensely focus his attention on a small number of projects rather than trying to achieve a dozen things at the same time.

Einstein’s push for general relativity highlights an important reality about accomplishment. We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention. Achievements worth achieving require hard work. There is no shortcut here. Be it starting up a new college club or starting a new business, eventually, effort, sustained over a long amount of time, is required.

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Our workload used to be what we made it, now it’s reactionary?

Thursday, 3 September, 2009

Our day-to-day workflow has (probably) always been unpredictable but has “the internet” in the form of email, surfing, instant messaging, and social media, made that flow – quite literally – more disruptive?

Without realizing it, most of us have entered the new era of what I call “reactionary workflow.” Rather than being proactive with our energy, we are acting in response to what is incoming. Having relinquished control over our focus, it has become harder and harder to embark on our work with intention.

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The best way to multitask is, er, not to multitask at all

Friday, 28 August, 2009

In attempting to multitask you may be doing yourself a dis-service… it seems multitaskers are more prone to a lack of focus as they tend to be far more easily distracted than people who perform tasks on a one thing at a time basis.

Compared with those who rarely used more than one type of media at a time, heavy multitaskers had slower response times, most often because they were more easily distracted by irrelevant information, and because they retained that useless information in their short-term memory.

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If attention festivals lasted more than an hour would you go?

Monday, 24 August, 2009

How to boost our ever decreasing attention spans? By serving up more attention-intensive matter to focus on of course. At least that’s one suggestion.

I imagine attention festivals: week-long multimedia, cross-industry carnivals of readings, installations, and performances, where you go from a tent with 30-second films, guitar solos, 10-minute video games, and haiku to the tent with only Andy Warhol movies, to a myriad of venues with other media forms and activities requiring other attention lengths. In the Nano Tent, you can hear ringtones and read tweets. A festival organized not by the forms of the commodities themselves but of the experience of interacting with them. Not organized by time elapsed, but by cognitive investment: a pop song, which goes by quickly, can resonate for days; a poem, which can go by more quickly, sticks through a season.

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My blogging obsession is forebrain porn

Wednesday, 20 August, 2008

Merlin Mann on the ingredients that make for a good blog, which includes a dose of good old fashioned obsession:

People start real blogs because they think about something a lot. Maybe even five things. But, their brain so overflows with curiosity about a family of topics that they can’t stop reading and writing about it. They make and consume smart forebrain porn. So: where do this person’s obsessions take them?

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Simplicity is the key to success: Marius Kloppers

Wednesday, 30 July, 2008

I can’t track down an online version of Ruth Williams’ article on BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers, that was published in the SMH’s Good Weekend magazine of 26 July 2008, but thought one of the credos of the 18th most powerful person in the business world, was worth sharing:

“I adhere to the same principles in my private life as in my business life,” he explains. “I keep it fairly simple. I don’t have a lot of things; I try and keep the number of issues that have to be managed to a reasonable level.”

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Simple Idea: Focus

Friday, 22 February, 2008

Simple Idea: Focus

Chris Wilson says FOCUS.

Focus in on strengths. Then focus on making strengths stronger.

Another in the short, simple and excellent Simple Idea series at The Marketing Fresh Peel.

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