Today I come across an article, which for the first time in months, has been able to grab my attention and focus for long enough to read past the opening paragraph (http://zenhabits.net/breathe).
It made me think for a while about why it has been so difficult for me to focus on one bit of information these days and like the good human being that I am, I naturally found something other than myself to blame. However, I may not be completely wrong this time.
The internet generation
I was raised in the generation that just discovered the internet, the one that grew into the birth of something which has shaped the world that we live in today. It has transformed our social interactions with each other, determined the success and failure of companies all over the world and has aided countries tormented with natural disasters to plan and rapidly distribute information (see: ShakeMap).
The interwebs has opened the world to us, ignore the cliché, but from it we have inherited a bunch of much bigger problems which we are trying very half-heartedly to address.
One of them being the attention span of our generation.
Social media often presents too much information
Thanks to social media services our minds are often flooded with more information than we really want, need or know how to deal with. What usually happens is that we tend to very quickly begin skimming over news and headlines without actually reading or absorbing the information (Twitter seems like the perfect answer to this, but it isn't).
Our worlds are changing so quickly & we are bombarded with so much information everyday, that we often do not focus on the important bits. When we finally do, we do not have the discipline to ignore the rest of the world for 5 minutes, while we read through what has just been presented to us. We must learn to relax and discipline ourselves to give our attention again. This is not only vital to learn how to focus but also to teach us to finish what we've started.
What you do here, you do in the rest of your life.
Advice which has worked for me (provided it is actually followed)
Challenge yourself to finish every article you start. Trust me, you will also learn to very quickly filter out what you really want to read.