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by Randall Craig on January 18, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media, Time management

Tagged as: , ,

When was the last time you ever gave anything (or anyone) your 100% complete, undivided attention?  If you’re like most people – and you’re honest – it was probably a long, long, time ago.  The question is why.

As intelligent, capable, and busy people, we have trained ourselves to handle… as much as we can handle. We snack on various inputs (emails, texts, the web, TV, people around us, etc.) and use our brainpower to keep it all organized, ready for instant recall… we hope.  The younger generation is no better: many will use Facebook at the same time as watching TV and responding to Texts.

Multi-snacking does not allow for two important activities:  Processing the inputs completely, and developing strong relationships.  How could it be otherwise, as we’re slicing our attention between so many things at the same time?  No one wants to develop a reputation for being unthinking and disengaged, yet this is precisely what multi-snacking leads to.

This week’s action plan: Good nutrition is tough to do all at once.  This week, schedule uninterrupted time for specific things, or with specific people. Turn off the interruptions, and develop a reputation as a thinking person who is fully engaged with the task at hand.

Postscript: The toughest place to avoid multi-snacking is in front of the computer.  To help, turn off the “helpful” interruptions from email, instant messaging, etc.  This will let you give that one task 100% complete, undivided attention.  And when you do the same when you’re with people (eg keep your smartphone in your briefcase), you’ll find your relationships improve as well.

Social Media Insight: We all strive for connection and community in the real world, so it isn’t surprising that the online Social networks have grown like wildfire.  But just because we can connect to others online, doesn’t mean that we should be connected to them at all times. We need space to think, and we need space for the “real world” people in our lives as well.

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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

{ 1 comment }

Mike Foreman January 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Well said Randall. When my wife wrote me a letter about putting down the phone at dinner, while playing with the kids and at the store; I realized I had pushed the digital envelope and as you said, snacked too much and ate all the cookies in the cookie jar.
Think of it, writing. She usually emails, instant messages me or calls me on my cell in my house to get my attention. Yes, this is the best way for her to get my attention… 90% is work related and the other social networking, web browsing…but regardless when your significant other takes the time to write a letter to put down the phone, it’s time to listen. Or as my dad would say, “listening; the lost skill…” Watch those calories!

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