The Real Reason Technology Destroys Your Attention Span. Need Help Focusing? Think About Two Rabbits. I want to share something really simple (but powerful) with you.
It's a little reminder that has saved my butt and helped me truly focus, time and time again. This reminder has helped me with the big-picture stuff (juggling multiple projects and priorities) ... ...and also with the day-to-day and immediate priority stuff (what should I work on now?). Ready for the reminder? "If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. " Super simple, right? This Russian proverb helps you easily visualize the pitfalls of trying to do too many things at once.
Try it right now and see how it works. Close your eyes and picture yourself trying to run after two rabbits running in different directions. Pretty fruitless, huh? Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain. Photo THIS month, many Americans will take time off from work to go on vacation, catch up on household projects and simply be with family and friends.
And many of us will feel guilty for doing so. The Myth of Multitasking. Christine Rosen In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”
To Chesterfield, singular focus was not merely a practical way to structure one’s time; it was a mark of intelligence. “This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.” In modern times, hurry, bustle, and agitation have become a regular way of life for many people — so much so that we have embraced a word to describe our efforts to respond to the many pressing demands on our time: multitasking. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, one sensed a kind of exuberance about the possibilities of multitasking. Dr. Changing Our Brains. Multi-taskers are Bad At It. People who multitask all the time may be the worst at doing two things at once, new research suggests.
The findings, based on performances and self-evaluations by about 275 undergraduate students, suggest many people multitask not out of a desire to boost productivity, but because they are easily distracted and can't focus on one activity. And those people turn out to be the worst at juggling different things, the researchers said. "From a public safety perspective, it's a little alarming that the people who report using a cellphone while driving the most are the persons who are the worst at multitasking," said study co-author David Sanbonmatsu, a psychologist at the University of Utah. The findings were published today (Jan. 23) in the journal PLoS One. Distracted lives In general, the ubiquity of multitasking has increased dramatically in recent decades. Multi-Tasking and it’s Effect on Concentration, Intelligence, and Reasoning. Recently there was an experiment conducted that studied two sets of people.
One consisted of individuals who multi-tasked constantly, while the other group rarely engaged in multi-tasking. Both groups were comprised strictly of students attending Stanford University, so it can be assumed that all are of above average intelligence. In order to compare their methods of concentration and managing information, both groups took part in a number of cognitive exercises. When some type of interference surfaced during the test, the individuals who multi-tasked frequently had difficulty maintaining concentration. The poorer results produced by the people accustomed to multi-tasking was surprising, as it would be expected that their background and familiarity with performing multiple tasks simultaneously, would have meant that they were better equipped to handle such an exercise.
Monotasking Is The New Multitasking. We all know multitasking is inefficient.
A classic 2007 study of Microsoft workers found that when they responded to email or instant messaging alerts, it took them, on average, nearly 10 minutes to deal with their inboxes or messages, and another 10-15 minutes to really get back into their original tasks. That means that a mere three distractions per hour can preclude you from getting anything else done.
Then there’s the relationship “inefficiency” that comes from multitasking. You can spend hours rebuilding the good will torched by a single glance at your phone during an inopportune time. We know this, yet we keep doing it. No human activity is immune. Fortunately, there are ways to learn to focus. Live right There are many reasons to exercise, hydrate, and get enough sleep--and the ability to fight distractions is one of them. Tie yourself to the mast To resist the original siren song, Odysseus bound himself to his ship so he couldn’t pursue these tempting creatures. Play offense Plan. The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time - Tony Schwartz. By Tony Schwartz | 8:53 AM March 14, 2012.
How To Waste Time Properly - Issue 7: Waste. Ever since Frederick Winslow Taylor timed the exact number of seconds that Bethlehem Steel workers took to push shovels into a load of iron ore and then draw them out, maximizing time efficiency has been a holy grail of the American workplace.
But psychologists and neuroscientists are showing us the limits of this attitude: Wasting time, they say, can make you more creative. Even seemingly meaningless activities such as watching cat videos on YouTube may help you solve math problems. Brent Coker, who studies online behavior at the University of Melbourne in Australia, found that people who engage in “workplace Internet leisure browsing” are about 9 percent more productive than those who don’t. Last year, Jonathan Schooler, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara published with his doctoral student Benjamin Baird a study called Inspired by Distraction. The Super Simple Phone Hack That Will Transform Your Productivity. A while back, my cofounder Leo gave me an interesting suggestion: He said I should try disabling all notifications on my iPhone.
I find this suggestion especially interesting because it is one that goes against the normal phone setup. It’s so usual to stick to how things are, and with iPhone apps the easiest thing to do is to “allow” all those notifications.