Divided Attention

Published by Lex on

The battle against divided attention continues. With so many things going on at once, it is no wonder that we get easily distracted and lose our focus.

Our senses are drawn to various stimuli. In fact our brains are conditioned to notice things that are out of the ordinary. That is one of the keys to survival. To survive humans need to be aware of their surroundings. There are traps and threats everywhere. It is all about conditioning

Be Careful What You Wish For: Multitasking computers

In the early days of PCs, I lamented that only one program could be open at a time. Even cutting and pasting within in a single program took dexterity. They were mostly called programs before they became applications.

Today computers are great at multitasking. Lots of applications can be open at once. You can paste pretty freely, although formatting doesn’t always carry over as nicely as you would expect. Not only are lots of applications open with lots of open tabs, but now you need to open multiple devices to log into a web application.

To truly get any work done, you need to block out distractions from multiple applications on one screen and block distractions across multiple devices.

Work that has you frequently task switching between applications and windows probably stresses you out and taxes your productivity.

Is it possible to design work that reduces task switching? Does this type of focused work require large batches of one task focused?

In Cal Newport’s book, ‘A World Without Email,’ he proposed some strategies for working in larger batches of time without interruption. That is helpful as far as it goes, but the nature of a lot of work in the modern is curating bits of information from one place and putting them in another place…

There is a terrible lack of flow in this type of information work, but it always seems like we are waiting for some piece of information to come in.

And we also seem to get an ungodly number of emails about the change of one status of another…Yes, we want confirmations and status updates, but we also tend to mentally block out automated messages.

So even though you may have received an email, you may not have got the email.






Photo by quapan