Are You Suffering From Continuous Partial Attention?
Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:00AM
Linda Samuels in Mindfulness, Motivation, Too Little Time, attention, breathing, focus, mindfulness, multitasking, opportunities, overwhelm, pause, productivity, technology, time

How we use our time each day and the behaviors we choose to adopt can produce positive or negative outcomes. In Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, I came across a few ideas that highlighted being more intentional with how we spend our time and where we focus our attention.

Almost two decades ago, Linda Stone, a former Apple and Microsoft executive, identified a specific phenomenon and coined the term, continuous partial attention. She describes this as paying partial attention, continuously. Stone says we’re motivated to do this because we don’t want to miss anything.  When we’re always on, constantly scanning, and on high alert, it produces an “artificial sense of constant crisis.” This phenomenon has escalated because of our increased use and availability of technology.

According to Stone, some of the outcomes that can result from regularly engaging in continuous partial attention include:

Stone makes a distinction between continuous partial attention and multi-tasking because of the different impulse that motivates them. She believes that multi-tasking is productivity and efficiency driven, while continuous partial attention is motivated by the desire to be connected and alert to the best opportunities.


“We have focused on managing our time. Our opportunity is to focus how we manage our attention.”

 - Linda Stone


If you find that your time is being spent in the always-on mode or that your attention is continually pulled between digital devices, tasks and interactions with people, here are some strategies suggested by Linda Stone and Janice Marturano, who is founder of Institute for Mindful Leadership:

Have you experienced continuous partial attention? Have you felt any of the symptoms associated with it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and your strategies. I invite you to join the conversation!





Article originally appeared on The Other Side of Organized by Linda Samuels (
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