Ever since quarantine began, my motivation and attention span has been at an all-time low. I have slowly come to realize that work-life balance is super difficult. I used to be able to read full books and watch long videos/movies with no distractions. However, I can no longer do these things after getting into high school, and now university. I can’t live without my phone for more than ten minutes for the life of me.
I think it all started with the use of Snapchat. Snapchat was the ‘it’ app back in high school. My friends still use it to this day, but the extent is not as it was back then. Its major selling point was based on the idea that nothing on the app stays forever. Snaps only stayed on screen for 10 seconds and stories only stayed to view for 24 hours. I would constantly check Snapchat to see what everyone else was up to. Regardless of whether they were my friend or not, it was almost like watching a car crash – you couldn’t look away.
I’ve recently felt the same way about TikTok. Most of my friends haven’t bit the bullet and downloaded TikTok – either because they feel like they’re too old for it, or they know they’re going to get addicted. I was previously on Vine (RIP), so the idea of short entertaining videos wasn’t new to me. But the algorithm of TikTok hits different considering that the playing field to get “TikTok famous” is basically equal. Also, the algorithm is very much tailored to what you share and re-watch, so it’s scary to think about what goes into it to make it so relatable and addicting. TikTok trends come and go very fast, so if you don’t keep up you end up feeling out of the loop or “too old” for the app. Like the author of “How I Got My Attention Back“, Craig Mod says, the algorithm knows what to do in order to keep you scrolling for hours on end. There are so many nights that I spent scrolling through TikTok even with work the next day.
Right when this semester of university started, I told everyone that I hid TikTok from my phone homepage so I wouldn’t click on it while I was bored. But, they immediately questioned me by saying, “Why don’t you just delete it?” and honestly, they’re right. In my defence, TikTok videos now pop up everywhere on other social media platforms, so it sometimes feels like you can’t escape even if you delete the app. Although the videos on TikTok are very entertaining, I too, want my attention back.
I personally don’t think I could go offline for a whole month. There are circumstances where I have somewhat weened myself off of using my devices and apps as much. When I went on vacation to South East Asia, the Internet was so bad that I had no choice. However, there were still instances where I could use the Internet to talk to my friends online while on vacation – just not as often. The main concern while going offline would be lack of socialization. I find a lot of comfort in being able to contact my friends 24/7. Since being in quarantine and not hanging with them outside, the choice to socialize only seems to be through online mediums.
Going back to the idea of attention in quarantine, I’m still trying to figure out the solution. Deleting apps that take up too much of my attention is honestly relieving. But at the end of the day, I can’t drop my devices since socializing is what keeps me sane. Do you guys have any ideas?
(Featured image from cottonbro on Pexels)