Have you noticed that lately, you have the attention span of a goldfish? According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds (yes, goldfish are believed to have an attention span of 9 seconds)—a decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds almost 20 years ago. More distressing is the fact that another survey found that human attention span decreases by a whopping 88% per year. The cause of this phenomenon? Human beings are bombarded with too much information.
Information overload is a major problem for society today. The onslaught of new content being created and disseminated daily via the Internet is overwhelming. So much so that Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation who designed the “killer application” Lotus 1-2-3, is famously quoted as saying that “getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” According to psychologist and attention expert Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D., author of Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload, information overload can cause forgetfulness, fatigue and difficulty with focus. Not only that but some sources estimate that your brain makes up to 35,000 decisions a day, leading to mental fatigue. The increased stress and anxiety we feel from trying to process too much information in today’s hyper-connected world is undeniable.