I read an article recently where some academic was weighing in on a timely debate: should schools and homes restrict smartphone usage?
I’ve heard of lot of well-reasoned arguments on both sides.
On the one hand, education has to remain relevant. Kids use smartphones today and they can be powerful learning tools.
On the other hand, young children are still learning how to control their attention. And even the most engaging classroom struggles to compete against the addictive rush of many apps.
This citizen of the ivory tower was… taking a different approach. Different from well-reasoned, I mean. Some choice arguments from this pro-smartphone academic include:
“Phones aren’t distracting because inattention precedes phone use.” Right… but I get ‘inattentive’ all the time and if I let myself turn to my phone, I’m doomed. If I force myself (or am forced) to focus, then I have a chance.
“Phones are healthier than potatoes and no one is saying to ban those.” I don’t know how to respond to this. I’ll settle for citation needed.
“Poor kids have more screen time.” I’m not sure how that’s a pro-phone argument.
But the big one was:
“Children need to learn how to multitask. If they don’t, they’ll get to university and not be able to cope with distractions.”
The solution to distractions is learning how to focus, not learning how to multitask. Multitasking is a distraction, not to mention a terrible habit.
It’s a habit kids should not be learning.
A much more reputable academic, the legendary American psychologist William James, described the ability to focus your attention as the height of genius. The smartphone age proved him right.
In the land of the distracted, the one idea man is king.
Or something like that.
I didn’t write this article by learning how to multitask. I can write only because I’ve unlearned that.
It’s been ten years since I heard anyone seriously advocate for multitasking. I think most of us have learned how bad a strategy it is.
But not all of us, it seems.
Oh, well. I’m not about to win any arguments against the ivory tower.
So all I’ll say is this:
If you want to unlearn multitasking and regain your ability to deeply focus, then listen up.
You probably tried meditation and it wasn’t for you. That’s okay, because you can train your mind to focus even if you struggle to quiet it.
In fact, a noisy mind can help with these exercises.
It’s not meditation – it’s something similar but oh so different.
Much more user friendly and much more powerful.
And it’ll help you focus like that.
You can read all about what this does right here: