The Lure of Data

by john on July 7, 2003

I can relate to the article The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive? [via Gadgetopia]. The article talks about how in today’s Always On culture multitasking rules supreme and although the author doesn’t come to a conclusion on either side of the argument it’s clear that this could be viewed as either positive or negative.

For me the key is making sure you are managing your multitasking rather than it managing you. An example of the former is using AIM to have relevant side conversations during a telephone conference call. An example of the latter would be to jump to email every time a new email comes in, effectively distracting you from what you had been doing.

When I really need to focus it is not enough to ignore AIM or email – I must shut them down completely. That goes for my cell phone too.

Multitasking has seeped into my home life as well. I very rarely just watch TV anymore – the only time I really do so is if I’m watching something with the kids or my wife. Otherwise I’ll be reading a book or working on the computer and the television usually becomes a background distraction. The last few times I did actually sit down to watch something without multitasking I recognized it as being a relaxing treat. This is also one of the reasons I haven’t yet sprung for a Tivo – although other Tivo owners tell me that’s exactly why I need one.

We’re Always On and we multitask – that’s just the way it is these days. Manage it effectively and benefit.

{ 1 comment }

ScottMcG July 10, 2003 at 10:25 am

Ah…reading the email as it comes in. Several of my co-workers are terrible for that. I will stop by their cubicle to discuss a project and part way into the conversation, Outlook will chirp at them, they will turn away from the conversation to read the email.
I actually tried going a week with having Outlook only running three times a day: as I first came in, right after lunch, and an hour before I went home. I would only respond to email during those times, but my supervisor directed me to leaving Outlook running all the time because an important email my come through. He did not buy my argument that if something was that important they could call me.

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