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Peak Attention Times

47 seconds... This is how long on average can stay focused while doing something on the screen

In other words, every time you’re doing something on your computer or phone, you are likely to stay focused on the task for less than a minute. Your gadgets have trained you to switch attention non-stop.

And the time you can stay focused keeps shrinking!

Gloria Mark is one of the top researchers in the impact of tech on human attention world-wide. In her new book “Attention Span” she writes about two things that characterize our ability to stay focused:

1. how engaged are you in what you are doing,

2. how challenging this activity is for you.

You want to be both engaged and challenged (but not too much) in order to be really focused.

When researching, Mark asked people throughout the day, how engaged and challenged they felt about the activity they were performing.

Here’s what she found:

The level of engagement and challenge depends on the time of the day. People seem to have “peak attention” times. Unlike computers, we aren’t productive and focused 24/7.

Focused attention, when we are both engaged and challenged, occurs in rhythms throughout the day. For most people, it tends to be late morning and mid-late afternoon, between 2-3pm (see picture).

Image source: Gloria Mark's research

The key to productivity and focus is to know your “peak attention” times and make the best use of them. For example, use them to focus on work that makes the biggest difference, instead of checking emails or social media.

Do you know your “peak attention” times?

Do you make use of them? Comment below.

P.S. If you would like to reset your attention and focus and help clients and employees do the same, join us for a 5 day Challenge. Over 5 days, we'll go through a bit of neuroscience theory of how attention works, and you'll get a daily practical challenge to implement what you learn into practice.

Details and sign-ups here:

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Mar 14, 2023

The hardest time for me to stay focused is between 2-3pm. My body appears to need a power nap then. Unfortunately, many people schedule meetings starting at 2pm. From this article, I can now understand why.

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