Thursday, October 10, 2013

On multitasking

... and its apparent enemy, productivity.
Even my snacks distract me from work.
Ironic that I have visited Facebook twice, youtubed a song I wanted to hear, watched a short film on Vimeo that a friend sent me and checked my phone twice in the space between that first sentence and this one.

I have just started reading Brain Rules, which goes through "12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school" by equipping you with a better understanding of how the brain works and what it needs from you to operate well.  It's not one of the principles as such, but one thing that has stuck out to me in particular is the amount of effort it takes for your brain to switch from one task to the other - it's tenths of a second every time you switch any task - to both figure out where it needs to access to get the new data you need, and then extract and synthesise that data for the new task.  The flashing FB message thread I keep revisiting while typing this is a new switch every time, ditto checking my work email, because the information to complete both of those tasks are all sorted in different places in my brain.  The seconds added up, we apparently make ourselves 50% slower by any attempt to multitask.

Am currently thinking of ways to mandatorily reduce the distractions - a creative solution via zenhabits: hire someone to sit next to you as you work and pay them to slap you in the face every time you look at Facebook  :)

(Full disclosure: additional to the activities listed above I took a phone call, checked Facebook, googled something about marshmallows, checked Instagram, checked Facebook again.  Somebody slap me.)


Unknown said...

Wow, this is like reading how I operated as 'normal' all these years. Another thing which i am irritated with is this constant need to read something. I run out of things to read by evening but still keep looking at my phone like an idiot, refreshing and re-refreshing my twitter/flipboard feed to magically churn out new articles. I should switch to a Nokia 1100.

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