What Helps Kids Focus Better – and Why They Need Help

The other day a kid rode by, texting while riding down the street on his bike. I saw a group of kids in a fast-food joint having lunch. Instead of talking and just having fun together they were each absorbed in a tablet or smartphone. They may as well have been alone.

A middle-school teacher complains her recent crop of students haven’t been able to understand the textbooks nearly as well as those in previous years.

Our tech – tablets, texts, Facebook, tweets, you name it – has changed childhood. And that has huge implications for how our kids’ brains develop the ability to pay attention – and to learn

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The Two Biggest Distractions – And What to Do About Them

Distractions are the enemy of focus. Being able to keep your focus amidst the daily din of distraction makes you better able to use whatever talents you need to apply – whether making a business plan or a cheese soufflé. The more prone to distraction, the worse we do.

Yet we live in a time when we are more inundated by distractions than ever in human history. Tech gadgets and apps invade our concentration in ways the brain’s design never anticipated.

Scientists talk about two broad varieties of distractions: sensory and emotional. The sensory ones include everything from that too-loud guy at the next table in the coffee shop while you’re trying to focus on answering your emails, to those enticing pingy popups on your computer screen.»

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A Leader’s Primary Task: Guide Attention

The news recently that RIM, the maker of the Blackberry, may be looking for a buyershows once again that how leaders guide attention can make or break a company.

The term “strategy” can be understood as referring to how a leader directs the focus of an entire organization. Each division – finance, marketing, R&D – focuses on that strategy in its own way. A change in strategy reorients where everyone’s attention should go, and how.

The best leaders sense when and where to shift the collective focus, getting it there at the right time – for example, to capitalize on an emerging trend.»

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