The Power of Content
The Power of Content
Staying focused & Choosing content that matters
Our world today is cluttered with so much content, so much information, and yet, all of us whether we like it or not, consciously or subconsciously are consuming some sort of content each minute of our lives.
Look at the world around you, a typical day in a mum’s life for example is jumbled up with parenting responsibilities and career duties . This could range from your typical corporate woman on the highest ladder, to one in middle management and cuts across to a ‘ mama mboga’, or small entrepreneur.
When she gets up in the morning, most would have a devotion or meditation moment. Here they would consume content, either from a book, podcast, and selected music genre or soft copy material from their phone or tablet. Thereafter, they would get into the morning routine of breakfast and school preparations, doing this while tuning in to their favorite radio show – this is content.
On her way to work or to drop off her kids to school, when stuck in traffic or walking to work, she is exposed to Out of home content on billboards, LED screens, street poles & wall wraps. These she may pay attention to or not, but subconsciously consuming the information exposed to her. Let us not forget newspaper vendors along the way- all of this is content.
In her car, if she is privileged to drive or in a matutu, there is a certain station that she will tune in to as a preference or in the case of the matatu she would have no choice but to listen to what is tuned in to- this is content.
Let us not forget her phone. According to reviews.org by Wheelwright. T. He states in his article that ‘On average, Americans check their phones 344 times per day. (That’s once every 4 minutes!)Our cell phones are our constant companions. 71% of us check our phones within 10 minutes of waking up. And 74% of us can’t leave our cell phones at home without feeling uneasy. Nor can we imagine our little companions dying—48% of people say they feel a sense of panic or anxiety when their cell phone battery goes below 20%. To add on this, when they are stole, we have a near death experience!
The data above is quite intriguing, because throughout the day, she will be checking her phone not only to receive, make calls or send SMSs , but she will also be on social media sites. Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Linked In, online streaming, Nextlix, Youtube, Spotify among others. All these are platforms where content is being served.
In the evening after work, she will probably go the gym or the shopping mall where she will be exposed to a myriad of content displayed on Outdoor platforms, mall branding or even point of sale(POS)/ point of purchase branding(POP). Finally when she gets home in the evening, more content will be served when she tunes in on the Television set co-viewing content with kids- this is still content. Come the next day… and the circle continues.
What this means is that the average person is now more distracted than ever. Our concentration span on one item is lower for this generation than our previous generations. Infact according to the bbc.comnews site, Simon Maybin states that ,’…. the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now. That is less than the nine-second attention span of your average goldfish’
Congratulations if you have managed to read this article thus far, because you have a good concentration span and have not been distracted.
Have you ever found yourself checking one message on your DM, and you only planned to look at only that one message, then 1 hour later you are still on your phone? Yes, we are all victims of this! What this means is that we have used our time that was meant to accomplish a task to ‘idle’ on our phones.
Think of the nights you have started streaming a series on Netflix, and you promised yourself to only watch 1 episode…then boom 4 or 5 hours later…you are on episode 8! When one episode ends you keep telling yourself, ‘one more episode….one more episode’ Sounds familiar right? For this example we have used our sleeping time to watch more episodes than we have earlier planned consequently losing sleep. Losing sleep means that you are less productive the next day and all your plans made for the next day will be affected in one way or another. Thanks to content! Unfortunately, for every time we are distracted, there is a cause and effect ripple effect that never seems to end and the circle continues.
The examples above show a snippet of our day to day lives and this is the reality that all of us face. In as much as all content is justifiable, it does not mean that all content is meant for us. We need to know ourselves so well to identify our triggers and need to consume the kind of content we are exposed to. The ripple effect leads to distraction and procrastination of key tasks.
Below is one tip that can help us focus better while choosing content that works for us one moment at time.
According to Nir Eyal,the Author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life during his master class at Mind Valley talks about the ‘10 Sec Rule technique’. Every time you are working on an intense project, something that requires a lot of concentration, and your mind in distracted to either respond to a notification or just a pop up on your laptop….the first thing you need to do is to arrest that moment and notice that you are being distracted.
Then set up timer on your phone to 10 min and wait it out. You can either get back to your work , or do what psychologists call surf the urge. Our Emotional internal needs that cause distraction are like waves , they crest and then they subside. If we can ponder over the waves or triggers that cause distraction in those 10 minutes and try to re-focus on the importance of what we are doing, then before the clock runs out, the wave/ trigger will pass. However if the urge does not go away , then you give into it.
Ultimately, if we are able to master our internal triggers to distraction, then 10 min rule becomes 15, then 20min …and this is a key step In improving our focus, choosing content that is effective at a particular time and becoming less distracted. Try it out!!