For over a year now, Radius has been co-sponsoring Hack Your Mind, a popular lunchtime series on technology and mindfulness with topics ranging from stress reduction to Facebook (and other media) addiction to helpful apps for meditation initiates. Over the year, two themes have been at the forefront: distractedness and a sense of being overwhelmed, both with technology and our reliance on it. People talk of having to multi-task in order to get things done, but research is now proving that multitasking is an illusion. By doing more, you're getting less done and exhausting yourself in the process.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Verena von Pfetten reports on the power of "mono-tasking" or as MIT professor Sherry Turkle terms it, "uni-tasking". Von Pfetten writes, "Multitasking, that bulwark of anemic resumes everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. A 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds--less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your email and back again--were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task."
This can lead to exhaustion and a feeling of just not being up to the job. Constantly switching and jumping from one screen to another creates stress and fatigue. Manoush Zomorodi, the host and managing director of "Note to Self" on WYNC Studios, recently offered an interactive series called Informagical, addressing information overload. Zomorodi says, "Our gadgets and all the things we look at on them are designed to not let us single-task."
What to do? By bringing awareness to our behaviors, we can decide how and when we use our devices. By creating more spaciousness in our brains, we are better able to harness the very power of our brains, reduce stress and make better decisions. As finals approach, practicing uni-tasking may be the most effective study aid ever.
Please check back to see what our Hack Your Mind series has in store for the fall. Thanks for a great year!