Just recently the issue of managing our attention within what I call the ‘Stimulus Tsunami’ has been a hot topic within the training workshops, Key Note talks and team meeting engagements that I have been involved in since the start of the year. So I thought it important to include here something I wrote back in 2007 which struck a chord with many people and resulted in some very useful exchanges of ideas.
Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different from multi-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse that motivates them.
Of course, our training and support helps massively with managing where we choose to put our focus and energy moment to moment. My purpose here is to point you to other resources that may help contextualize this for you and provide the opportunity to reflect on and – if you feel motivated – to discuss here.
You know how it is; you are doing ‘stuff’ and some other internal ‘stuff’ keeps popping into your consciousness. This is made even more difficult by other external ‘stuff’ clamouring for your attention. No wonder people sometimes feel a certain affinity to Dr. Pavlov’s dogs in his famous “conditioned reflex” experiments in the early 1900s. It almost seems like, since the start of the year, Twitter, Wikis, IM, Skype and other technologies are conspiring with ‘Establishment’ practices around email, smartphones, back-to-back meetings to divert and divide our attention.
CPA is one of those issues that have been bubbling under for a while now. I first came across it in 2005 when I came across Linda Stone, who worked for both Apple and Microsoft. Here’s an essential link for anyone who recognises the reality of this issue. Well worth grabbing a cup of coffee for!
To get an overview of CPA from Linda herself read this: http://lindastone.net/qa/continuous-partial-attention/
Then, of course, decide how you are going to deal with this reality. A good starting point might be to Contact me to see how we might help deliver Results Worth Talking About.