Posted On March 13, 2010
Found on the web. Couldn’t agree more:
As I write this my iPod is off, the phone is silent and the computer only has one thing on it – this document with its blinking cursor and corporate compliant Futura font. I’m not paying attention to email, the blinking IM icon, or the conversation in the cube across the aisle, although hearing about my colleagues weekend adventures with karaoke is intriguing. I am doing this because I realize I have a problem focusing. My brain is all over the place. Contemporary existence demands so much splitting of attention – because we can do more, we do. The problem with being so distracted is that we inhabit daily experience in an absent minded mode and as a result, have more difficulty forming strong memories, as though the passing moment didn’t leave a trace. I need all the memory I can get. A team of researchers at Stanford University found that people who are HMM (heave media multi-taskers) do not pay attention, can not control their memory or easily switch from one job to another adeptly as people who concentrate on one job at a time. High multi-taskers can’t keep things separate in their minds. Ever have a colleague repeatedly ask you for files or information? It’s a real life or death problem, no exaggeration. The culture of distraction is rewiring our brains, making us less happy, less able to connect with people and form conscience. Multi-tasking impedes the brains executive function, the part that decides what’s meaningful and what’s not. What to pay attention to what to ignore. We may think we’re multi-tasking but we’re really task switching, toggling between one task and another and each time you start up there a start up cost. One study suggested that up to 25% of an office worker’s day is spent switch tasks. When occupied with many and varied task, we tend to feel far away from pretty much everything. So I’m announcing my intent – pardon me while I unitask. I will pay attention to one thing at a time, like riding a motorcycle.