Monday, January 28, 2008

Multitasking Makes You Stupid and Slow

I often have wondered about why it's so difficult sometimes to focus. This day in age, we're bombarded on all sides (more sides than we even knew about, and new sides being developed everyday) by all sorts of information, advertisements, feeds, text messages, news links, social networks, bacn, instant messaging and more. I stumbled upon this wonderful (yet long) article while I was writing an email. Gmail's Web Clip, as it often does, popped up a very interesting headline "Multitasking Makes You Stupid and Slow". And once again, I clicked over without hesitation or even finishing my email.

Bam! Just like that, my attention was diverted and gone was the email I was just about to finish, and click send.

The article discusses how neuroscience research is able to show now that multitasking is killing our productivity, not helping it. In the past several months, I've struggled with this personally. I often feel short on time and think that I'm not ever able to get enough things done in one day. If could only figure out how to do things faster, or more than one thing at once! I'm baffled at how easily I can be pulled in. A headline or song on my streaming music player while coding or researching. Perhaps that I remembered yet another task that I know needs to be done as soon as possible; so I start it up in a hurry thinking that I may be able to just get them both done at the same time!?

iGoogle? No thanks, I learned my lesson when this Google product came out a while back. Too many temptations to click on one of dozens of links, all from feeds that I love to read on the home page of the website that I'm visiting just to search for something!

While riding the train to work, I usually have my music playing on my headphone while I read. Are we really able to listen or enjoy the music while we're reading a book? Does the information in this book stick at all while I'm bobbing my head to the tunes as I read?

The distractions are everywhere and advertising is at an all-time high. When will the constant bombardment end? Or a better question yet, is when will this research land on the desk of advertising executives everywhere who'll realize that they'll get better rates by putting up less ads, not more. More ads on your site just gives them more reasons to click and leave your site, even if that does mean you just made a buck from their click.

Give it a read, it'll make you think twice about the next time you are multitasking, that is if you're able to truly multi-task and realize that you're not focusing while doing more than one thing at once and be able to consciously move yourself away from the diversion you just embarked on.

The Autumn of the Multitaskers


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