Hedge fund manager James Altucher recently wrote about how multitasking can kill you. Neuroscience shows that our brains simply weren’t created for it. Yet many people continue to live hyper-connected lives, essentially creating 24/7 workweeks — no matter how unhealthy it is.
In “Information Overload: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions,” an article for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA), Joseph Ruff says that we are bombarded with so much data that we’re on information overload. Simply put, information overload is when our ability to process information has passed its limit, and further attempts to process information or make accurate decisions from the surplus of information leads to information overload.
Think you’re a good multitasker? Know someone who thinks they are? Here’s your chance to put your skills to this test! In this video, Dave Crenshaw walks you through the multitasking exercise he shares in his live keynote speeches and workshops.
People often say we’re multi-tasking ourselves to death. What is it we’re doing and why has this become a passionate conversation?
I call what we’re doing today continuous partial attention, or cpa, for short. In 1997, I created this meme to differentiate between simple and complex multi-tasking. The motivations and the effects of simple vs. complex multi-tasking appeared to be very different to me. I wanted a new name to describe what I was seeing in order to be very clear that when my mom was multi-tasking, she was doing something very different from what I found myself doing.
What I call continuous partial attention is referred to as complex multi-tasking in cognitive science. Most of us don’t walk around distinguishing between simple and complex multi-tasking when we talk about our day: “I multi-tasked all afternoon and I’m exhausted.” “Yes, I multi-task when I drive.” “A good chef has to multi-task.”
Were those examples of simple or complex multi-tasking? There’s no way to know.
In this era of information overload, the experience of being stressed, forgetful and overwhelmed means your mind is perfectly normal. Douglas Merrill, author of the new book Getting Organized in the Google Era, writes about his own struggle with dyslexia, and how that forced him to develop techniques for remembering information.