Email, IM and the web is a huge distraction, especially for those with short attention spans. My new friend Clay Johnson uses interval training techniques to lengthen his attention span the same way he trained his body to run a marathon. Clay writes:
Paying attention, for long periods of time, is a form of endurance athleticism. Like running a marathon, it requires practice and training to get the most out of it. It is as much Twitterâ€™s fault that you have a short attention span as it is your closetâ€™s fault it doesnâ€™t have any running shoes in it. If you want the ability to focus on things for a long period of time, you need attention fitness.
Clay raises his attention fitness level several ways: by using a timer for work sprints (this works; I do it), by ditching his second monitor and stashing apps like Twitter and email in a separate virtual desktop that he hides while he works, by keeping his browser tab count down to a minimum, and by listening to lyric-free music. He’s also looking into a standing desk. Test out your attention fitness level by seeing if you can read his post in its entirety–it’s lengthy but full of interesting material that supports his approach.
How to Focus [InfoVegan.com]