This week’s prompt asks if we think the Internet is really a productivity tool, or merely an endless series of distractions? Has the Internet created a world of ‘multitaskers’ who don’t accomplish as much as they could have without it?
In terms of multi-tasking, I have seen lots of research come out lately that shows multi-tasking is actually ineffective. Furthermore, recent research has shown that multi-tasking can even damage your brain. Yet, in this day and age it would be almost impossible to get through a day without multitasking. The Internet has certainly added to this phenomenon. I get emails at all hours of the day, and everyone who emails seems to expect an instant answer. The same goes for text messages and IMs. Benita talked about just stopping what you are doing and googling something when you have a question about something. I certainly do that all of the time. Another thing that takes a lot of my time is online shopping. I remember at a football practice this summer another mom had a blanket that looked useful. I dropped what I was doing an ordered an exact replica off Amazon. It took less than a minute.
All things considered, the Internet has allowed me to be more productive. I didn’t have to drive to a store and look for that blanket. We don’t have to go to the library to research answers to our questions. We don’t have to waste time phoning someone or visiting them when we want to ask them about something. However, the problem comes in the fact that we can do all of this instantly. Because we can, we do. And that leads us to try to do everything at once.
I agree with Ashley that the key to combatting the constant multi-tasking is to find balance, and to be mindful of what we are doing. Like Benita and Amy, I also practice yoga. It took me a good year and a half to get to a place where I could block outside thoughts during my practice and focus on my breath. I am afraid I have not been able to find this kind of mindfulness at work, though, and I tend to get distracted quite easily. I was very excited to learn about James Hamblin’s theory on single-tasking, and as today was Thursday, decided to give it a try today. I made an infograph to display the results.