Attention Deficit

Do you ever wonder if you’re paying attention to the right things? Do you have times of absolute distraction, flipping from emails, to Facebook and text messages, to household chores and work tasks with alarmingly close deadlines? Yup, me too.

In this attention seeking economy, I find myself labouring under a severe attention deficit. As a result, I’m like a spinning top beginning to wobble, with an imminent threat of crashing. I lose track of emails, send belated birthday cards, skip out on exercise in the hope of salvaging another precious thirty minutes. It wasn’t always like this.

Ask yourself, “Wasn’t it easier before the pressure of social media?” Before the pressure of likes and followers and having something fascinating to say or a compelling image to share every day.

I remember the days before social media took over our lives. I had time then to ponder critical work issues, really think about them in the quiet of my office. I had time to think strategically. I had time to chat with my staff and colleagues about their lives and families and personal pursuits. I had time for weekends with my husband and children without the intrusion of emails and text messages and the glow of my laptop.

The reality, as Michael Goldhaber, an Internet prophet, concluded is that social media has enticed us into “taking whatever precious little attention we have and diverting it toward something.” Goldhaber called this a “zero-sum proposition. When you pay attention to one thing, you ignore something else.”

But … social media is like a drug and most of us are addicted. I’ve been thinking of walking away from at least some of it. But maybe I’ll just wait a little while until Paris In Ruins is published. Maybe then I can stage a retreat.

As writer Howard Rheingold said: “Attention is a limited resource, so pay attention to where you pay attention.”


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website