I just read a fascinating article by Hugh McGuire entitled, "Why can't we read anymore?"
I'll provide the link to it at the bottom of this blog, but first let me tell you (briefly) what intrigues me about McGuire's piece.
McGuire describes how digital distractions have increasingly prevented him from doing one of his favorite activities - reading books. His regular book count - the number of books he typically reads in a certain period - has diminished considerably. He blames this on, among other things, the internet.
If you're like me, your computer is virtually always on. If you're working on a spreadsheet, document, presentation or whatever, a digital distraction is just one click away. Email? Click. Online article? Click. Message? Click. These distractions, and our practice of allowing them to constantly interrupt us, has trained us to get less done. McGuire goes so far as to cite research indicating new information causes a rush of dopamine in the brain. We have actually become addicted to information (and not the best information) on electronic devices. Those of us who try to multitask, get less done.
His solution? Unplug. Remove the distraction on schedule (not completely) so you can focus on something else. Like reading good books (even if they are on an eReader). Books, McGuire says, are different than other arts in that, "We share our minds in that time with the writer's."
So take a break. Turn off the TV. Ignore emails. Let Facebook sit for awhile. And, schedule book time. (If you need a recommentation of a good book to read, I've got a couple to suggest).
I'm going to try it. I challenge you to as well.
Here's the link to McGuire's article:
Caveat: I recently ordered an Apple Watch - that hideous new device designed to keep one even more connected to the digital universe. I'll let you know how this affects my digital-less experiment.