Mindfulness in the Culture of Distraction

Our time is stolen. We are distracted more than ever. Simplify your information input and focus on real gratification.

Still reading? I wonder when you will switch your context, check your mail on your smart watch, tweets on the tablet or whats trending in social networks. You are trapped in the technology loop. If you are not hooked, your children will. Maybe they will avoid social networks sooner or later, but there will always be another toy, another diversion: From mobile games with addictive gameplay to immersive VR environments, robots or virtual avatars.

Completing toy tasks give us a rewarding feel. They are in your comfort zone and you do not have to work hard mentally to get them accomplished. I understand, that everybody needs some time to relax, but our days seem constantly fragmented by these useless gap-fillings activities, see Joe Kraus.

Koh Tao Sairee Beach

The illusion of a reward is a pleasuring experience. Hence, it is not always easy to exit the loop of false gratification. Especially, in our world of information overload, where it is difficult to determine the origin or the intention of certain information. A solution: Reduce and simplify.

Focus on one task at a time. Close all these browser tabs, you have planned to go back to. Do not multitask. Start your computer to work on the tasks you planned to do. If the task is accomplished, close every program and turn it off. Otherwise you might get lost in all sorts of diversions. Apply information filters: Stop reading the news or avoid any other cross-chatting media stream. Do an information retreat once in a while. Turn off your smartphone for a week. Do experiments and observe your happiness. Do these tasks really affect your life in a positive way?

We should step back from this vicious cycle of stress. Always-connected, continuous updates and comparison to others suppress our mind to relax, to think autonomous and to be fully aware. Be aware to live your life, not the life of one another. There is no app for that. Question your input and output. We need mindful people.


One or two mails a month about the latest technology I'm hacking on.