What was I doing again?
I wonder what time I have to be at the dentist tomorrow. Is it 8:30 or 9:30…? Not such a difficult question. I grab my phone to look in my calendar. As the screen unlocks, I see a number of WhatsApps I have yet to answer. Putting my phone away ten minutes later, I go to hang the laundry. Then I remember that I still don’t know what time I have to go to the dentist! My working memory once again falls short of holding the thought of what I should actually be doing on my phone. Looking around, I am not the only one suffering from digital dementia.
Digital dementia is the acute forgetting of what you were doing as a result of digital stimuli. It arises because we switch tasks a lot and lose information while switching because we see things that grab our attention without our knowledge. This makes it difficult to work and think linearly. We train our brain to switch a lot, which is literally what it does when it suddenly discards information from your working memory and starts a new task. It’s like walking into a new room of your house every time and realizing you forgot what you were actually doing. Particularly with students I coach, it seems like they have an extra challenge here, there seems to be a decline in mental health.
To become aware of how this process occurs in your own brain, you can focus your attention on this. A great way to train attention is to meditate. In doing so, you learn to watch your thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them. As you become more experienced in meditating you notice that the ability to focus your attention improves. Because you can hold your attention lower, you are less likely to be distracted and have a choice whether to be distracted by that pile of new messages. This helps me tremendously to keep my head from turning into a digital sieve.
Help with digital dementia?
Do you struggle to keep your attention on your work and finish things?
Then schedule a call appointment to discuss online coaching options.