I know multitasking kills, but I continually find myself attempting to do several tasks at the same time. Why bother?
We often find times where we want to keep ourselves distracted so we can do things that we don’t truly enjoy. We hate it; so if we combat it by trying to keep our brains distracted.
Be honest, see if you do any of these things.
- Do you twitter while watching TV?
- Do you listen to audiobooks while driving, walking, etc?
- Do you check email while watching videos?
I’ve been there, in fact if I’m honest I try to be there.
The truth is that all that effort isn’t improving what I get done, instead it just keeps my mind distracted.
Electronics Accelerate the Problem
Reading about how computers make our brains weak made me realize that my affinity for technology is not helping my mental focus.
I’ve been struggling with brain fog due to some dietary issues for the past year. That has forced me to pay attention to my attention - or lack there of. I found that I completely agree with the author of the article. Especially when they said …
Today’s machines don’t just allow distraction; they promote it.
The article points out that the evolution of computers originally never envisions the need for multi-tasking. At some point we knew that deep focus matters, especially when we need to be creative.
But Alan Key, one of the inventors of multi-tasking systems at Xerox. He said,
We generally want to view and edit more than one kind of scene at the same time—this could be as simple as combining pictures and text in the same glimpse, or deal with more than one kind of task, or compare different perspectives of the same model.
While that’s true the reality is that computers are supposed to be a tool for us to accomplish more. I’ve said many times through the years that I love to watch computers to my work.
The result of ever increasing computing capabilities is that we have more computing power around us that we just can’t keep them busy. But we can try, we try and end up even more distracted.
Bring on the Coffee
That increased level of distraction leads to us searching for other ways to keep our brains churning. Coffee, bring on the coffee and more importantly the caffeine.
In an effort to increase our attention we often turn to caffeine hoping that it will speed up our processing to deal with the number of different things we experience.
The most popular area where we see the reality of how multitasking kills is on the roadway. Distracted driving is really just another form of multitasking.
Our electronics invade every part of our lives and we get conditioned to think that we must respond. That conditioning become disastrous when we get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Instead remember that multitasking kills and isn’t effective. Take time to decide what you’ll do, then focus. Focus on one thing.
Dividing attention across multiple activities is taxing on the brain, and can often come at the expense of real productivity. -Arthur Markman, Professor of Psychology at University of Texas at Austin
The reality is that our mind is designed to focus and get things done. One thing at a time.