Personal Experience with Partial Attention

According to Christine Rosen, author of the article “In the Beginning Was the Word”, “we live in a world of continuous partial attention, one that prizes speed and brandishes false promise of multitasking as a solution to our time management challenges.” At first blush it seems hard to admit, but Rosen is right, at least in my experience. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and after sleeping, I’m left with no more than 15 hours to do what I need to do. In between 16 credits’ worth of classes, cooking dinner, chores, catching up on my favorite TV shows, and working on a novel, the time I do have seems too little. In my mind, I have no choice but to multi-task. Even now, as I type this, I have Ghost Whisperer playing on Netflix in the background.

Unfortunately, multi-tasking as a solution to making the most out of all the hours in a day is indeed a “false promise” that results in “partial attention”, especially when it becomes habit. Rarely do I find myself focusing all my attention on one thing at a time, and as a result, I’m always misplacing my phone at home, and sometimes I end up doing something completely feather-brained like putting the wrong amount of detergent in the washing machine even after reading the directions. The truth is, I have a partial attention problem because I’ve become so accustomed to multi-tasking. I just don’t focus on one thing at a time anymore, and because of that, I risk sacrificing quality in favor of speed. Getting everything done within the limited time I have becomes my first priority instead of putting 100% of my effort into something and doing all I can to make it the best it can be.



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