Multitasking and Distractions: The Web’s Effect on Our Brains, Our Memories, and Our Time

Posted on May 21, 2013, under Time and Technology.

MultitaskingMultitasking is a very common practice, and one that many people erroneously think increases their productivity.  In reality, multitasking means that you create a situation in which you need to deal with constant interruption … from yourself.

Not only that, but multitasking also makes it necessary to transition back and forth between tasks, often setting you up to lose focus in the process.

Multitasking and Its Impact:

And yet, multitasking is really the coinage of the realm these days.  In fact, for many people, if they’re not doing several things at once, they probably feel like they are slacking off!  Quite the opposite is actually true, as reflected in a recent article by Bob Sullivan on NBCNews.com  titled “Students can’t resist distraction for two minutes … and neither can you.”  It’s a fascinating piece, arguing that the barrage of information and distractions that we experience in our everyday lives has us skating across the surface, rather than going deep.

“There are those people who think that multitasking is simply the way life is now and we should be focusing on getting better at it … that we are a bunch of old fogies who don’t understand,” Paul said. “But scientifically, there is no evidence for that. There are fundamental biological limits to what the brain can pay attention to. This is a problem built into the brain.”

Multitasking, Time, and Our Brains:

And what impact does that have on our experience of our time – and of our lives?  This brief video, shared in the article, offers some ideas based on the work of Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Multitasking:  Some questions for you to ponder …

  • How do you relate to the internet?
  • What impact do you see its distractions, large and small, having on your attention, your recollection … and your life?
  • Do you ever unplug?
  • If you do, how does it feel?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

And if you’d like to explore Heart-Based Time Management™ more deeply, there’s a great way to do that right now!  I invite you to access Secrets of Heart-Based Time Management™ - my chapter in the book I co-authored - Stepping Stones to Success!  In it you’ll learn about my proven system for harnessing the power of your mind, your body and your spirit to help you deepen your experience of time and of your life.

You can give yourself the gift of this wonderful resource today, and get started on your journey toward success, Stepping Stone by Stepping Stone …just click this link.

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There are 4 Responses to “Multitasking and Distractions: The Web’s Effect on Our Brains, Our Memories, and Our Time”

#1 craig daniels (@organichat) - 22 May, 12:23 PM

Thanks for sharing Paula, a nicely done encapsulation of the myth of multitasking. And thanks for including the short video, it sure made me laugh.

#2 Paula - 22 May, 8:52 PM

Hi Craig – I am so glad that you liked the post (and the video). Myths are often challenging to unmask and let go of. And I love how a small dose of humor can open eyes and provide a non-threatening, gentle nudge in a more helpful direction.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

Best,

Paula

#3 Nikki Creed - 28 May, 12:14 AM

Multi tasking is an area I have been very interested in over the past couple of years, especially now I know it is not good for our brains ! Funny – I used to pride myself on multi tasking….Thanks for sharing your insights and throwing in technology in the multi tasking mix !
thanks Paula

#4 Paula - 28 May, 5:48 AM

Hi Nikki – Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights. Many of us have shared the sense that multitasking is efficient, and in some cases it still can be. (I’m thinking of things like doing the dishes or working on a shopping list while steeping a cup of tea.) But for tasks where focus is required, we lose a little ground every time we transition back and forth – and that’s just ONE of the losses – it’s certainly eye-opening!

Here’s to your time success …

Paula

I'd love to hear what you think!

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