Friday, May 05, 2006

Multi-Tasking is Taxing The Quality and Depth of Our Thought Processes – Now Where Was I?

Let’s face it, during the last decade or so, our society has become more and more multi-task oriented. What with cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, IPODs, Palm Pilots, Blueberries, Raspberries & Strawberries – I’m not quite sure anymore whether they're electronic gadgets or whether I'm ready to make fruit salad.

“As for multitasking devices, social scientists and educators are just beginning to assess their impact, but the researchers already have some strong opinions. The mental habit of dividing one's attention into many small slices has significant implications for the way young people learn, reason, socialize, do creative work and understand the world. Although such habits may prepare kids for today's frenzied workplace, many cognitive scientists are positively alarmed by the trend. "Kids that are instant messaging while doing homework, playing games online and watching TV, I predict, aren't going to do well in the long run," says Jordan Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Decades of research (not to mention common sense) indicate that the quality of one's output and depth of thought deteriorate as one attends to ever more tasks. Some are concerned about the disappearance of mental downtime to relax and reflect. Roberts notes Stanford students "can't go the few minutes between their 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock classes without talking on their cell phones. It seems to me that there's almost a discomfort with not being stimulated--a kind of 'I can't stand the silence.'" Time Magazine (March 27, 2006)

I.E.: During the simple act of commuting by automobile we are quite often expected to talk on our cell phones, listen to music on an IPOD/ MP3 player or heaven forbid the boring car stereo, watch a DVD, Look at the GPS display for directions, converse with our passengers, tell the kids to stop yelling, “Are we there yet?” & Oh Yeah…and did I forget - drive! If this is not multi-tasking then I don’t understand the concept!

Even as a poet I am often expected to be multi-tasking:

i) surf the net for info on poetry
ii) write a poetry blog
iii) workshop poetry on-line
iv) workshop off-line
v) read on-line poetry journals
vi) read print poetry journals & books
vii) partake in poetry readings
viii) submit to on-line journals
ix) submit to print journals
x) put together a poetry manuscript
xi) write & edit poetry

All this from a guy, who admittedly has trouble keeping a thought, and crossing his legs at the same time. I guess I’m not really a multi-tasking kind of guy -- just a run of the mill taxing kinda guy!


shann said...

heh- me too.

plus work 2 jobs, kids, art gallery

kill me now

Nick said...

Shann, thanks! At least I know that I'm not alone.