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268 Gloria Mark: Attention Span

Attention span is a critical ability for productivity and well-being, and it can be managed and improved.

Gloria Mark: Attention Span


In Attention Span, Gloria Mark provides a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of attention and its impact on productivity, creativity, and well-being. She explores the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and information science to shed light on how attention works, how it can be distracted, and how it can be improved. The book also provides practical tips and strategies for managing attention, including techniques for reducing distractions, increasing focus, and maintaining motivation. It is an essential read for anyone seeking to improve their productivity and well-being in the digital age.


Title: Attention Span

Author: Gloria Mark

Publishing Year: 2023

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Length in hours: 10 hours and 52 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Attention is a critical ability for productivity, creativity, and well-being, and it can be managed and improved.
  2. Attention can be easily distracted by various factors, including technology, stress, and multitasking.
  3. The digital age presents new challenges and opportunities for managing attention, including new technologies, tools, and techniques.
  4. There are practical strategies and techniques that can be used to manage attention, including mindfulness, goal setting, and reducing distractions.
  5. Attention management is a crucial skill that can lead to improved productivity, creativity, and well-being.
Gloria Mark: Attention Span

5 funny quotes

  1. "Attention is the gold standard of our digital age, and everyone wants a piece of it."
  2. "If attention is a muscle, then mine is starting to look like a piece of overcooked spaghetti."
  3. "I wish I had a nickel for every time I got lost in my Facebook feed when I was supposed to be working."
  4. "I don't always have a short attention span, but when I do, it's usually because of my phone."
  5. "I'm not saying that attention is everything, but have you ever tried to get anything done without it?"

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "We are increasingly in danger of being tethered to our technology and losing the ability to fully engage with the world around us."
  2. "The more interruptions we experience, the less productive we become, and the more stressed we feel."
  3. "The goal is to understand how attention is managed, how it can be improved, and how to make the best use of the precious cognitive resources we have."
  4. "The battle for our attention is a complex one, and many stakeholders are vying for a piece of the pie."
  5. "Our attention is the currency of the digital age, and it's up to us to decide how to spend it."

5 dilemmas

  1. How to balance the benefits of technology with the potential negative effects on attention span and productivity.
  2. The trade-offs between multitasking and single-tasking, and the difficulty of focusing on one thing in an age of constant distractions.
  3. The tension between the desire for novelty and stimulation and the need for periods of sustained attention and focus.
  4. The challenge of designing technology that supports attention and focus rather than undermining it.
  5. The question of whether attention can be trained or improved, and if so, how best to do it.

5 examples

  1. Apple's introduction of the "Do Not Disturb" feature in iOS to help people manage notifications.
  2. The Pomodoro Technique, a time-management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by its creator.
  3. Researchers at Microsoft using EEG to measure people's attention while using different types of technology.
  4. Studies on the effects of multitasking conducted by Gloria Mark and her team at the University of California, Irvine.
  5. The work of productivity expert David Allen, author of the book "Getting Things Done," which includes strategies for managing attention and focus.

Referenced books

  1. "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" by Cal Newport
  2. "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr
  3. "The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World" by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen
  4. "Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked" by Adam Alter
  5. "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads" by Tim Wu

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"I'm not saying that attention is everything, but have you ever tried to get anything done without it?"

Gloria Mark: Attention Span
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