The Seattle Times has a story about the Information Age producing 'cognitive overload which encompasses the modern-day angst of stress, multitasking, distraction and data flurries. "Today, we can do more. And do more, faster. And do more, faster, from anywhere, all the time."
Multitasking — a term that involves "doing, or trying to do, more than one thing at once — has cemented itself into our daily lives and is intensely studied. Research has shown it to be consistently counterproductive, often foolish, unhealthy in the long run, and in the case of gabbing on the cell phone while driving, relatively dangerous. Yet it is also expected, encouraged and basically essential."
Michigan psychologist and cognitive scientist David Meyer asserts effective multitasking is beyond a person's capabilities. "we don't and can't do it well. We can if the tasks are simple and virtually automatic (think walking and chewing gum at the same time) but true, effective, efficient, meaningful multitasking is akin to jamming two TV signals down the same cable wire. You get static, not high-definition.
"We're stressing people out with multitasking demands over time," says Grafman of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "And it will cause further decline in our health and performance, he says, if we keep it up. "The brain gets confused and looks for default mechanisms. It becomes hard to focus; we take shortcuts."
"We are not only working faster but even longer, and filling our limited leisure with busy activities, leading to an increasing sense of time poverty" Many don't take earned vacations and compromise health, marriages, parenthood, community and social activity.
Do you find yourself doing too much at once? (I certainly do,) And what do you do to break the cycle?