2.10.2006

RANT: "Step away from the computer Sir and put your hands up in the air. Now."

via CNet - (Is it possible to get too much of a good thing?) The typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction. The problem is that it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for our brains to get into a really creative state... The digital communications supposed to make things run more smoothly are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks accomplished...

"It used to be: 'I've got to be online, it's so frustrating that I can't get on,'" said Chris Capossela, a vice president in Microsoft's Information Worker unit. "Now that's happened. People are ultraconnected. And you know what? Now they are starting to realize, 'Wow, I want to actually stop getting interrupted.'"...

Desperate for some quiet time to think, people are coming up with low-tech strategies to get away from all their technology... "If you don't have that sort of free time to dream and muse and mull, then you are not being creative, by definition," said Dan Russell, a senior manager at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. After concluding three years ago that he was becoming a slave to e-mail, Russell decided to put his foot down. These days, he takes his time replying to messages. All his responses say at the bottom: "Join the slow email movement! Read your mail just twice each day. Recapture your life's time and relearn to dream."...

It's all part of a culture shift that has accompanied all of the new modes of communications. These days, corporate culture frowns on those who turn off their instant messaging software or don't respond quickly to the latest e-mail... "People start to look at you with contempt or disgust if you shift away from the technology," Honore said... Technology has kind of turned the tables on us," Honore said. "We move to its speed and its rhythm."...

Russell says humans just aren't that good at doing many things at once. The problem, Russell said, is that there are only certain types of tasks that humans are good at doing simultaneously. Cooking and talking on the phone go together fine, as does walking and chewing gum (for most people). But try and do three math problems at once, and you are sure to have a problem. "The paradox of modern life is that multitasking is, in most cases, counterproductive," Russell said.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got > Strength vs Weakness > Success breeds Failure

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