Over the last week, I have come across a number of references to multitasking. In each case the viewpoints were exploring the impact of multitasking:
- helpful or harmful?
- productive or unproductive?
- impact on concentration, learning
- long term impact
I notice the rise of multitasking in myself. More often than not, I will have my laptop in hand while keeping an eye on a TV show or be flipping between various computer applications or tasks (or all of the above :-)). I think the tasks at hand are determining
- when to multitask
- identifying when it proves beneficial
- how much
- how long
- what tasks
Certainly, I know from personal experience as you likely do, that there is a point of fragmentation that brings you to a state of inefficiency. In a more pressing state of fragmentation, one may be making errors as well. Being aware is this means I am being mindful of my work, work quality and productivity.
As we go further and further down this road of embracing more technology, and learning the incredible benefits that it can bring, we need to be mindful of using in the best possible ways. This means balanced life style and productive use in work , social networking or entertainment. Putting my educator hat on, we need to address this issue as part of a healthy lifestyle and learning environment with our students. There are times for single focused concentration and times for multitasking. Making the right choice in a situation is important, and a good thing to learn.
This topic is definitely food for thought.
US News: Chronic Media Multitasking
Reuters: Multitasking Doesn’t Work
Computer Weekly: Media Multitasking Hurts Work Performance
Smart Brief: SmartBrief News Release