Archive for Multitasking

Perils of Impatience Podcast

Consider this a sort of break from pure politics and a follow-up to the multitasking rant earlier this month. If you’re not too impatient to do a bit of reading, check out the Pew Report Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives.

I tee off on this report, observations and other readings. Then I posit a bifurcation. The instant gratifiers who are constantly connected invariably push themselves into short attention spans. They feel, feel, feel. They feel they are worthy of the fastest net connections, fastest phone connections, and zero waits for page loads. These extreme first-world issues can seem amusing, but they are also crippling.

Those who habituate themselves to snippets like tweets quickly lose the ability to and have no interest in analysis, much less reading. That can seem very trendy, yet at what cost. As Pew’s work points out, it means stress and dissatisfaction, and a serious loss of mental skills.

I go to hold that there will be a great bifurcation. The Millennials and close groups will break down into those who can analyze and assimilate information and those who only parrot snatches of this and that and the other. Employers and customer, even acquaintances, will see the distinctions among those who live by impulse and thinkers. Whoa to the instant gratification types.

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Death in Service to Bill Gates

one-man bandLet’s pledge to each other not to be foolish, not to let vanity and ego, well, kill each other on the streets.

Fact is that we’ve eagerly bought the shoddy goods of multitasking. As a species, humans are terrible at it. Start by watching wrecks and near wrecks as drivers using cell phones career at each other and slam on the brakes (usually in time). Less dangerous and more common and certainly amusing see pedestrians on sidewalks or indoors walking into each other or walls as they try to ambulate and talk or text into the smartphone. It’s good perhaps that the phone is smart if the users are not.

Doubters’ Resource. Start with the collection of data and studies from around the nation and world at the National Safety Council here.

I run down some stats — how dangerous using phones while driving is, and that hands-free use is no safer. I talk about why we were even introduced to the idea that we can, should and must multitask. Alas, unlike a PC, we can’t get a retrofit of more RAM and a faster CPU. We really are trying to switch sequential tasks instantly. Our brains can’t do it. Multitasking is at best an illusion and at worst a deluision.

I go into a little background of CEO/manager think that led to the multitasking mythology. Bill Gates? Yes, Microsoft has been a primary villain here, promoting its Office and other software with a fantasy that every employee is a multitasker and is robbing the company if she or he isn’t working on many duties at the same time all day and every day.

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