#509: How to Get Focused and Not Feel Mentally Exhausted When Constantly Shifting Our Attention with Gloria Mark

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Episode Summary

In the ever-changing world of technology, we’ve grown so much as a society with unlimited access to information. But as you and I both know, often times this ability to search for anything, anytime–  from the palm of our hands– can be taken advantage of. 

How often have we been told generation after generation that our patience and attention span is declining? We know it’s true. Even I’m guilty of hopping onto social media or my smartphone when I’m supposed to be doing a million other things. 

But did you know– the average attention span back in 2004 was roughly 2 and a half minutes… and today, the modern attention span has declined to 47 seconds. That’s how much our population has changed in less than 2 decades. And this rapidly changing mental capacity certainly has implications on our overall health. 

In this podcast, attention expert Dr. Gloria Mark is here to shed light on the connection between constantly shifting our focus and attention all over the place– and the eventual burnout that comes from it. 

Dr. Gloria Mark has been studying the effects of technology on our attention span for years, so she’s here to educate us on how detrimental certain aspects of technology can be to our mental state– and to our overall health. 

She talks about some of the most popular social media apps, and how these can quickly lead to burnout in your day-to-day– without you even realizing it. 

But don’t worry, she goes through some much-needed recommendations that we can all implement to help us reduce the burden society today has put on our minds and bodies because of our multitasking efforts. 

You won’t want to miss the strategies she discusses, and how important it is to keep our focus on the present and not jump around from one thing to the next. Recognizing this distraction is the first step to making the change to preserve our mental capacity, therefore improving our overall quality of life! So listen here, and start making simple changes to reduce burnout and feel your best. 

Dr. Gloria Mark

Dr. Gloria Mark is a chancellor’s professor of informatics at the University of California Irvine. Her main focus is studying how our minds and behaviors have changed since the rise of digital media use. She earned a Ph.D. from Columbia and has been a visiting senior researcher at the Microsoft Research Institute since 2012. 
She’s the author of Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness, and Productivity. Her book explains all about how our attention spans have been declining, and what we can do about it.


“And this, of course, is also affecting our ability to pay attention. Just simply the fact that every year there’s a new source for distractions that comes along.”

“I know we keep being told that our attention span is smaller and smaller, and I don’t know if people understand the detrimental impact that could be having on our brain health, on our emotional resilience, on our ability to focus and concentrate.” 

“We might have the sense that I’m accomplishing a lot more and I’m able to be efficient and switch back and forth. But there’s something called a switch cost that happens. And a switch cost is the extra time it takes to reorient to this new task you’re doing.”

“If you can take a good solid break, it really gives you a chance to replenish and build your resources back up.”
“From a psychological perspective, it’s the hardest behavior to stop randomly reinforced schedules.

In This Episode

  1. How our attention span has changed in the modern digital age
  2. The consequences of multitasking 
  3. How social media is impacting our mental bandwidth
  4. How to minimize digital distractions  
  5. The different types of attention 
  6. Strategies and recommendations for conserving and replenishing attention resources
  7. The importance of improving your quality of sleep and rest
  8. Balancing work and personal life 
  9. Gaining control over your attention
  10. Shifting your focus to achieve optimal well being

Resources Mentioned

This Episode is Sponsored by Olive and June. Get 20% off your first Mani System at: https://www.oliveandjune.com/mariza

Dr. Gloria Mark’s Website

Dr. Gloria Mark’s Book– Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness, and Productivity.

Dr. Gloria Mark’s Book– Attention Span: Finding Focus for a Fulfilling Life 

Gloria Mark in the News 

Connect with Dr. Gloria Mark!

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