Tuesday, July 21, 2009No Such Thing As Multitasking
At last, an article that articulates my thoughts on this matter. It's all about attention.
In Brain Rules, Medina points out that the brain cannot multitask:
"Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time. At first that might sound confusing; at one level the brain does multitask. You can walk and talk at the same time. Your brain controls your heartbeat while you read a book. A pianist can play a piece with left hand and right hand simultaneously. Surely this is multitasking. But I am talking about the brain’s ability to pay attention… To put it bluntly, research shows that we can’t multitask. We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously."
If you’ve ever put on a CD to listen to while working, and then noticed with surprise that the music has finished and you can’t remember hearing any of it, you’ll know what Medina is talking about. Because we can only concentrate on one thing at a time, when we try to do multiple tasks that require attention, we end up switching between tasks, not doing them simultaneously.
Business coach Dave Crenshaw, author of the book The Myth of Multitasking, makes the same point:
"When I speak of multitasking as most people understand it, I am not referring to doing something completely mindless and mundane in the background such as exercising while listening to this CD, eating dinner and watching a show, or having the copy machine operate in the background while you answer emails. For clarity’s sake, I call this ‘background tasking’.
When most people refer to multitasking they mean simultaneously performing two or more things that require mental effort and attention. Examples would include saying we’re spending time with family while were researching stocks online, attempting to listen to a CD and answering email at the same time, or pretending to listen to an employee while we are crunching the numbers."
So there’s no such thing as multitasking. Just task switching - or at best, background tasking, in which one activity consumes our attention while we’re mindlessly performing another.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009The Ilusion of Time
Brilliant short post from Seth Godin today:
There's always room for Jello
This is one of the great cultural touchstone slogans of our era. A culture where there's so much to eat we need to try to find a food that we can eat even if we're stuffed.
Often, we'll decide that something is full, stuffed, untouchable but then some Jello shows up, and suddenly there's room.
Think about your schedule... is there room for an emergency, an SEC investigation, a server crash? If you took a day off because of the flu, is your business going to go bankrupt? Probably not.
So, if there's time for an emergency (Jello), why isn't there time for brilliance, generosity or learning?
Thursday, June 25, 2009Stunning!
SImply stunning art work using just sand on glass.