Instant Gratification- My generation is all about it. If we get in line at Tim Hortons and have to wait 5 minutes, we consider our morning shot. We see something on the Internet we like, it can be at our doorstep in a day or two. We read our news every morning in 140 characters, and don’t have to wait long for anything we do, which is making our attention span much shorter. The average attention span has dropped drastically, from 12 minutes to 5 minutes, over the last 10 years. Our generation has a worse attention span than the elderly; if that’s not unnerving, I don’t know what is.
We are in a time of information overload; we’re reading so much every day and we can only retain so much; this sometimes doesn’t leave room for important things. As Hebert Simon said back in 1977, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
Attention span directly relates to memory. Consequently, lack of attention causes millions of dollars worth of damage. Ever left something on the stove and caused a fire? I certainly have; it’s not a nice feeling knowing that your scatterbrain has caused you to mess up a simple task, especially when there is money and damage involved.
There’s no way I could deny being affected by this. Every morning I wake up, check my phone, and find that I am constantly attached to my phone. It is literally always within arm’s length. Not so surprisingly, I also forget things all the time. Ironically, I recently forgot that I put my phone in my backpack while rushing to leave on a trip and thought I forgot it at home. I also forgot what I was saying halfway through this sentence.