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Multi-Tasking in Slow Motion

We are consuming a ridiculous volume of information on a daily basis and it is altering us. I’ve observed the effects on my very own brain, over my lifetime. Since I’m solidly GenX means I grew up in an analog world. But I’ve also been an early adopter of so much new tech that has come along. Many research projects have been tracking the impact of technology on human physiology.

I get at least one patient a week who is convinced that forgetting things like car keys or picking up children is the result of a serious brain condition or early Alzheimer’s. The truth is the expansion of the information age has happened so fast, it’s bringing us face to face with our brains’ limitations. Just because our computer devices have perfect memories we think we should too.

How does technology affect our brains?
Andi Horvath speaks with researchers to determine just how our daily use of technology affects our brains.

Over time, I know I have been losing my ability to focus. I’ve wondered what some solutions might be. Some days I consider ADHD meds. This week I removed the Facebook app from my phone. And have been appalled by how often I find myself still reaching for it. That only reinforced the notion this is the best course of action for me. What other apps will I have the courage to delete from my smartphone? Or should I fully embrace a “dumb” phone—with limited options—to help me out? A roundup of such devices:

Speaking of the brain’s limitations, multitasking has been up for debate for some time.

Humans, they say, don’t do lots of things simultaneously. Instead, we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly.

Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again

This week I heard a fresh take from my favorite undercover economist, Tim Harford, and his TED Talk A Powerful Way to Unleash Your Natural Creativity:

What can we learn from the world’s most enduringly creative people? They “slow-motion multitask,” actively juggling multiple projects and moving between topics as the mood strikes — without feeling hurried. Author Tim Harford shares how innovators like Einstein, Darwin, Twyla Tharp and Michael Crichton found their inspiration and productivity through cross-training their minds.

It’s worth listening to. I’ve struggled with these things my entire adult life. Maybe I’ll find that balance one of these days.

Some Enchanted Evening

2 Comments

  1. Eric wrote:

    Have you seen The Social Dilemma on Netflix? Have you listened to any episodes of the Your Undivided Attention podcast?

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Sharyn wrote:

    Hey Eric - both are on my list! Thanks for the reminder.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

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