Sun, March 29

Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Concentration a lost art in era of information overload

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

Pay attention! These words are spoken (or shouted) every day. It seems we humans, have a hard time keeping focused on one task at a time.

We are easily distracted. We try to multi-task (another term for do everything at once, rarely finishing anything).

People are crashing cars, falling off the edge of the Grand Canyon, walking into pools of water, getting into strange cars, forgetting where they just placed their car keys ... the list goes on and on.

Some scientists claim that our brains are wired now to “take in” so much information that we are driven to keep consuming more data, news, videos, and all the interesting things that our devices bring to our attention.

One woman who fell into a pool at a Scottsdale resort was ordering a new bathing suit on Amazon from her phone. Sadly, when she stumbled into the pool, she was fully clothed. Well, at least she could swim.

I know that many people are dying because they are obsessed with “selfies.” Stand on a ledge with a 1,000-foot drop and one little gust of wind can be the end of you. Well, this is not simple distraction, it is more like intentional and tragic foolishness. My mother once said that, “all bad things happen when you are not paying attention.” So true.

Concentration isn’t always easy. I know I just walked into my office to pay my electric bill. Found the bill and noticed a houseplant looked dry. Put the bill down and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Then noticed a few mugs in the sink. Go to put the cups into the dishwasher, but realize the dishes are clean, so I unload them. Phone rings and it is a daughter who wants me to check if I have her blue sweatshirt in my vehicle. Then I go out to the garage and find a bird flew in and must shoo him out.

So what was I looking for?

People get lost every single day because they are not paying attention. The radio is blasting and you missed the turn. Listening to headphones is great when you are walking, unless you have no idea where you are going. Something tells me that being easily distracted is a universal problem for all of humankind.

Also, the consequence of “information overload” is that our patience becomes non-existence and our attention span continues to shrink.

Evidently, we have created more information in the last 20 years than mankind has created since the beginning of time. No wonder our brains are busting at the seams with endless data points, swirling around like a tornado in our heads.

I can understand how the poor woman walked right into a pool at a resort. She was thinking of something important, like buying a bathing suit. Distracted? Oh yea, it’s an epidemic.

Yikes, did I ever pay my electric bill?

My goal? I better pay attention ... or the lights may go out.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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