It probably seems like I’m blaming my work environment for my struggle to focus, shifting blame from my own (lack of) discipline onto 'society'. But I’m not making this up. There is ample evidence that technological advances are affecting our attention span. A recent study
found that the internet is physically changing our brains so that we have shorter attention spans and worse memory. Dr Joseph Firth, senior research fellow at Western Sydney University told The Telegraph
that high levels of internet use could impact the function of the brain: "The limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention – which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task." The study also found that smartphones are replacing our ability to remember facts. You probably know the sensation of subconsciously reaching for your phone, or going to google something you can't quite remember, or the excitable 'ping' in your head as you open a tab for Twitter. There have always been things in the office to distract us (the stimulating conversation around the water cooler, perhaps) but with the internet, it's much easier to be distracted surreptitiously, slipping in and out of our workflow without even noticing.