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What is the cost of our attention-deficit society?Have you ever heard someone say, “I have ADD today”?


ADD (attention-deficit disorder) has become a catchphrase for laziness, often used as an excuse for procrastination, lack of productivity, being easily distracted, not paying attention, and not completing tasks. People seem to wear it like a badge of honor, which is odd if you think about it.


ADD and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are true disorders that require medical treatment. They are physiological, biochemical disorders that make it hard for a person to stay focused and pay attention, thus limiting their ability to perform to their full potential.


Attention-Deficit Society

When I say that we have become an attention-deficit society, I don’t say it lightly. One of my family members was diagnosed with ADD in 1992, and I have seen the impacts of this firsthand. But I use this phrase intentionally to drive the point home that there is an epidemic of inattention in our world—a widespread, serious condition that has real consequences. Consider the following:

  • Nine people die every day and 1,153 people are injured because of distracted driving. These are not just nameless, faceless These are partners, mothers, fathers, children, siblings, and friends. Possibly yours.
  • Distraction results in an increased death count of pedestrians in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People are so consumed by their cell phones, they miss the fact the train is coming when they cross the tracks.
  • The Information Overload Group says businesses lose $588 billion every year from interrupted employees.
  • In a study of 2,000 respondents, Think Money found a total of 759 hours (that’s 31 days!) in lost time every year due to
  • Since the year 1900, about 477 different species have become extinct because of our inattention to our environment and the destruction of natural
  • The Global Nonrenewable Natural Resource Scarcity Assessment found that 23 of the 26 (88%) nonrenewable natural resources it analyzed will likely experience permanent global supply shortfalls by the year

Our inattention has real, often lasting, and sometimes devastating consequences. We allow other people, devices, and circumstances to control our attention. We think we are paying attention, but we aren’t. Click To Tweet



It’s a Choice.

Those with true ADD don’t have a choice in how well they pay attention. The rest of us do. We don’t have ADD rather IBC—inattention by choice. We have control of our brains, our thought processes, and our habits. Stop thinking that you have no power over your inattention and lack of productivity. Nothing could be further from the truth.


So, how did we get here? How did we become an attention-deficit society?


It’s not because we’re not smart or because we don’t care, but because so many other things are competing for our attention, both online and offline. The causes of the attention-deficit society are both internal and external forces. Our fast-paced, device-dependent, the hyperconnected world is speeding up, not slowing down. We have so many distractions and decisions, we can’t focus in the moment for a minute.


If you are ready for you and your organization to begin paying attention to what matters most, book Neen James for your next conference and team event. Stop being crazy busy and start driving profitability, productivity, and accountability.

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