August 7, 2011 2 Comments
Remember when there was 1 TV in the house, the family gathered around watching one show from start to finish? Remember when there was one phone in the house and it was probably in the kitchen? Okay, admittedly those might be realities that are too distant for most of you to remember, but it is a fun exercise to name all of the technology developments that have occurred in your life time, no matter when you were born. The pace of technology advancement is exciting and impressive. I love being an ‘early majority’ adopter myself.
So, forgive me while I lament one of the biggest problems I see in our techno-capability. From my living room chair today I can… write this message, post it to my LinkedIn and Twitter, take a picture of myself with my phone, post that picture to my Facebook page and send an MMS to my Mom. I can do all of this while watching TV, engaging in a text-conversation with my teenager, and playing “Words with Friends” to take a mental break. Oh yeah, and my husband is talking to me about the last Red Sox game.
I imagine this one is not a difficult scenario for any of you to picture, right? Some call it multi-tasking. But, I wonder. Although many of these very unrelated tasks is not highly taxing on my brain, the question is am I doing any of the tasks with ‘all’ of me? Clearly not. When is the last time you focused one thing at a time? When is the last time you participated on a conference call without your email open and working? When is the last time you were (slightly) offended by someone you were talking with who proceeded to respond to an incoming text message?
I am as guilty as the rest, but I am on a mission now, starting with myself. I am currently participating in a 13-week series of conference call-based training sessions; the facilitators asked us prior to session #1 to totally focus on the call — turn off computers, cell phones, free ourselves of all distractions to focus on one thing — the learning experience. I was not sure I could do it, but decided to try.
Of course, at first, I was panicked about what I might miss during the 90-minute sessions. I was afraid I would miss that very critical email, urgent text message, or entertaining Facebook post. But, I had committed.
And now I am clearly seeing the benefits!
Not only am I learning more than I ever would if I was being my typical ‘multi-tasking’ self, but I was surprised to feel the difference. I cannot believe what a relief it is to have the ‘quiet’ that I need to focus on the learning. My mind is literally more quiet as I listen. My stress level goes down. I can feel it. It is a luxury to focus. It is a luxury to pay attention to one thing and one thiing only.
I highly recommend it! I am on a mission to use my technology to the fullest, but at the same time to protect the brain space I need to do all things well, one task at a time.