Divided Attention Disorder: Digitization and smartphones make you sick and inattentive!


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The topic of attention is more relevant than ever in the midst of digital transformation: we have access to an endless amount of information at all times - but that is exactly what leads to ever greater problems.

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Barbara Haag Fixed aspect ratio Barbara Haag is a management consultant and businesscoach.

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How multitasking makes us sick

Thanks to the Internet, smartphones, netbooks and iPad, we can find an almost unlimited amount of information at any time and with just a few clicks. Paradoxically, this is exactly what leads to the fact that many no longer manage their actual tasks and become permanent procrastinators.

Thanks to multitasking, we can do it in parallel and apparently in the shortest possible time EmailWork through s, check stock market prices, write a briefing and choose a movie for the weekend. But what about our cognitive abilities, which must strive to keep up with this rapid development? And what can we do to “slow down” our brain again.

Do you recognize yourself here?

  • While downloading a larger file is running, take advantage of the time and look quickly to where there are cheap flights for your summer holiday, and from whom the latest contact request comes with Xing.
  • Traveling on the train at a business meeting makes your laptop limp, your smartphone does not get internet connection. Actually not so tragic; You do not expect urgent messages, and your office knows that you can not always be reached. You could read the book you bought at the station. They prefer to play a bit of Tetris. After each round, check to make sure you are finally back online.
  • At least two browser windows are always open on your computer and there are at least eight tabs each.

Then you may be suffering from DAD.

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What is DAD?

Behind this abbreviation lies a syndrome called Divided Attention Disorder, the latest new addition to the attention deficit family, to which the BBC recently dedicated a contribution.

According to current findings, DAD (presumably) is not fatal or contagious, but it is likely to be widespread in our society and responsible for a multitude of dead hours.

When multitasking makes problems

Because the principle of multitasking is not infrequently a problem: Multitasking is about productivity; it is to use our precious and scarce good, the time, as sensibly as possible and give us so much more of it.

Activities with the same priority are carried out simultaneously, whereby one of the activities can be more demanding and attract the majority of our attention, while the second has to be done on the side: for example, we eat while working on the newest Emails at noon.

When priorities set difficult

It becomes critical when we feel incapable to prioritize the information that flows daily to us, to carry out tasks in a structured manner, and to concentrate on an activity for a longer period of time. When our attention jumps from one subject to another in a five-second cycle, we do not work efficiently.

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Our task is not as fast as we had imagined, and in the end we are confused by a mass of loose threads and spend an unnecessary amount of time assembling them.

Does too much technology damage the brain?

No, it is not a matter of radiation, which acts on us through excessive hand-handling. However, our heavily technology-dependent approach involves other dangers. According to BBC, there is a theory to DAD that is quite disturbing:

In the long term, this way of working should lead to cognitive overload and influence our way of thinking. Too many quick and short impulses literally overflow the so-called working memory, the part of our memory that is responsible for temporary storage and not particularly pronounced.

Our attention span is decreasing, our brains are unlearning the deep concentration and linking new information with the facts and experiences stored in our long-term memory. Our thoughts do not mature to deep stored knowledge, but remain confused on the surface.

Slow Food, Slow Brain

But how can you escape the maelstrom of uninterrupted flood of information and constant availability? How to "reprogram" his brain? The keyword is by no means No Brainer, but only Slow Brainer (and that only in a positive sense. Think Slow versus Fast Food). In any case, you do not need a hat made of aluminum foil.

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Accept that just because modern technology theoretically enables you to be ready at all times and you could do everything at once, it should practically not invite you to do so. Because if you know that you are always available, you will be with you at the wrong time Emails bomb.


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  1. REGIS GMBH

    How digitization and smartphones make people sick and inattentive: Do you also have Divided Attention ... via @berufebilder - Highly recommended 1T15TXZLHb

  2. Thomas Eggert

    How digitization and smartphones make people sick and inattentive: Do you also have Divided Attention ... via @berufebilder - Highly recommended SlxYOrD29b

  3. Wolfgang E. Benkert

    DAD syndrome: do you suffer from digital attention disorder? | Job photos by Simone Janson via @sharethis

  4. Attention Disorder and Learning »Wolf's PAD

    [...] at the same time, this excess of information makes us dependent. A sentence in the quoted article "Do you suffer from digital attention disorder?" by Barbara Haag caught my eye in particular: our attention span is reduced [...]

  5. Attention: How to deal with digital important factors »netzwertig.com

    [...] Until a few days ago I didn't even know that it was such an "illness". Barbara Haag then taught me better. Now I am not a friend of such classifications - already about the [...]

  6. Kresse Club

    Do you suffer from Digital Attention Deficit Disorder? #dad

  7. Silke Boberg

    Oioi! There is some truth in it.

  8. Celes

    @veryunkreativ probably has the reason that IT is developing too quickly, there is no evolution behind it ->

  9. NGC6544

    DAD - Morbid multitasking? Recognized? #socialmedia #work

  10. Lars Hahn

    DAD - Morbid multitasking? Recognized? #socialmedia #work

  11. Tanja Handl

    I recognize myself in example 1 and example 3 - where number 3 is work-related.

    I don't have multitasking though - tabs are open in the background so that they can be processed later when we eat, we eat and nothing else, and when the download is finished, the in-between pastime is canceled.

    The temptation to constantly check something on the I-Net is of course great - the only real solution, in my opinion, is self-discipline. However, it can be trained. A first step is to document your own behavior in order to find time wasters - those who want more tips on productivity can also find them on our blog Beyond-9to5.de

  12. Dieter Henkel

    Divided Attention Disorder: Do you suffer from ...: Business start-up & innovation · For separate ...

  13. Competencepartner

    Divided Attention Disorder: Do you suffer from digital attention disorder ?: ...

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