For a moment, just focus…! Ignore those links on the right hand side of the page. Resist the temptation to sign up for my weekly newsletter. Shut your eyes to the other tabs and windows open on your screen. Instead, for a moment or two – concentrate. There that was easy wasn’t it? Well, maybe not….! Your peripheral vision can’t ignore those extra tabs. Your mind can’t really ignore things I have told you not to ignore. Distractions happen and it is really tough to cope with them.
In the online world, distractions are ever-present. When you visit a web page there is brightly coloured advertising, or there are videos on the page you simply “have to” click on. Then there are forms to fill in to get more information and all manner of interesting bits an pieces just on one web page. And that’s to say nothing of the “bing bong” of that email arriving, or the Facebook chat window popping up, the Skype call coming in or the on-screen alert for any manner of services you use, such as Twitter. Gone are the days when you could sit in front of your computer and have a single, non-distracting window on which you could work. Now, your day is filled with an continual array of distractions.
Perhaps you already have a New Year Resolution in mind, saying that you won’t be as distracted in 2012 as you were in 2011; I suspect that resolution will be broken before the hang-overs form New Year parties are resolved. The notion that you can prevent distractions online seems difficult to achieve. But new research suggests there is a way.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have – for the first time ever – been able to show that sustained training in “mindfulness” can alter the pattern of your brainwaves. In essence, what this means is that by meditating you can increase the level of alpha waves your brain produces, which are helpful in maintaining focus and specific attention. Meditation enables you to focus on what matters, to help you block out the irrelevant and annoying stuff. If you do find yourself distracted by the plethora of online excitement, then meditation will help. This new research confirms the mechanism by which it all takes place.
So, if you are planning to be less distracted in 2012 when you go online you might find you need to meditate regularly if your wishes are to come true. And if you want some help along the way, then self-hypnosis audio programmes on meditation will help you.
- Why Bloggers Should Meditate (problogger.net)
- Meditation May Help Brain Tune Out Distractions (webmd.com)
- Remove Distractions, Focus on Webpage Content with Evernote Clearly Extension (madrasgeek.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+