Sam Radford

May 15, 2023

The gift of undivided attention

Being fully present to the people we’re with and the moment we’re in

Most of us know by now that there’s no such thing as multi-tasking. We’re simply fast-switching between tasks, often in detrimental ways to our well-being and productivity.

I sit at my desk, with two screens, multiple apps open, constantly switching from one to another, to another, and back again.

Not only that, it’s very easy to find myself doing the same thing during Teams and Zoom meetings. Rather than giving my full attention to the people I’m on a call with, I’m distracted by an email notification that pops onto screen, and quickly check that. Or a colleague messages me on Teams and I take a look to see if it’s important.

I know I’m not alone. It’s too easy to split our attention. And so we rarely give one another the gift of our undivided attention.

It stretches beyond the context of work too.

We’re out with friends, but we keep our phones constantly to hand. Often we’re checking our phones while carrying on a conversation. This has become a new kind of normal.

I don’t think anyone could argue that this is a good thing!

Do we really need to check that email right now? Will the world come to an end if we don't check on what's coming in until after the meeting we're in?

If we go a whole evening without checking what’s happening on WhatsApp, or Instagram, or Snapchat, or TikTok, will we have missed out on much?

And the upsides of giving people our full attention and being fully present to the moment we’re in are numerous.

In world where we’ve all become used to the attention of others being split, giving people our undivided attention is a gift that will stand out.

It’ll deepen those relationships. 

Your contribution will be more powerful. 

And your brain will thank you for not subjecting it to this misnomer we call multitasking.


About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.