How to Avoid Goldfish Syndrome

When the average person’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, it can seem downright impossible to tackle that to-do list. Conquer your productivity woes with these tips from Team Candor.

Employees and employers both want to have productive days. So why is it sometimes so hard?


A whopping 70% of employees say they feel distracted on the job. In fact, the average human attention span is now eight seconds, shorter than a goldfish. Many people blame increased use of technology. But let’s be honest with ourselves: distractions aren’t the only reason for our shorter attention spans. Poor time management and prioritizing effectively are also factors.


Looking for some productivity inspiration? Here are some ways Candorites fight for an efficient workday.


Eat the Frog

As Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”


I’ve found “eating the frog” applies in more than one way. Whether you want to accomplish the task you dread the most or start with the largest task on your to-dos, the outcome is the same. Once it is accomplished, you will gain momentum and be ready to accomplish other to-dos.


The Power of the To-Do List

People often start the work day knowing the general tasks they need to accomplish — but they frequently underestimate the time projects will take or all the little things that go along with each step.


Writing out a to-do list can help you visualize what needs to be accomplished and prioritize accordingly. This can look different for everyone.


Assistant Account Executive Sarah Ederer numbers each item on her to-do list in order of urgency or importance. “This helps me knock out essential items and identify back-burner tasks,” Sarah said.


Content Writer Emily Russell has found success by staying a step ahead and planning the following week’s to-dos before wrapping up work each Friday.  “When I plan ahead, I never feel stressed or surprised once Monday rolls around – instead, I’m ready to tackle the week,” Emily said.


Take a Break

You might be tempted to power through lunch and shovel in a salad at your computer. But taking a break can actually increase your productivity throughout the day. A 2018 survey found when workers step away from their desks for a bit, they return with increased focus and decreased stress. Director of Digital Content Alex Joseph says time away from his desk is paramount to his sanity, energy and productivity. “It’s easy to get bogged down when staring at a screen for eight hours, and that can make a sedentary job rather draining,” Alex said.


A break could be anything from taking a walk to reading a book. Whatever it is, make sure to make it a priority.


Silence Distractions

Constant interruptions — whether by a well-meaning co-worker or social media notifications, can throw a wrench into your productive workflow.


To indicate his priorities for the day, Director of Video & Production Rich Ross blocks off time on his calendar to focus on specific projects. “My co-workers can take a look at my calendar and see when I have my head down editing a project or if I’m out on a shoot,” Rich said. “This helps everyone know what I’m focusing on and allows me to not be pulled in too many directions.”


Be Realistic

We’re all human. You’re not going to hit peak productivity every single work day, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, shift your mindset and implement some of these tried-and-true strategies. Once you find what works for you, you’ll be impressed with how much more you can get done both in and out of the office!

Our Most Recent Posts

  • How to Cash In On the Google for Nonprofits Program

    Paid search can be an expensive marketing channel, especially for those in the not-for-profit space — luckily, there’s a free option available via the Google for Nonprofits program.

  • What’s Going On With Instagram?

    Instagram is prioritizing video, but is it making the right moves? The app’s recent rollback on controversial updates indicates there are many factors to consider before brands try to evolve with the times.

  • Lessons from the Yellow Pages

    Not long ago, the phone book was an important part of daily life. Now, it’s virtually nonexistent. What lessons can we learn?