Multitasking…Are we wired for it?

On Tuesday evening, Ashley, Andrew, Nancy, Jayme and my-self presented information about productivity and presentation tools. As we began to brainstorm tools to focus on for our presentation, we were all in agreement that the internet could not be left out. It comes as no surprise that the internet is one of the leading productivity tools currently being used within society. Moreover, the internet provides people with the opportunity to accomplish many tasks; such as paying bills online, accessing information, staying connected to family and friends, shopping, distance education, and watching educational videos. With all of the wonderful opportunities the internet provides us with, it seems almost impossible to function in today’s society without it. With that being said, have we become dependent on the internet? Can we function in today’s society without the internet? 

When I watched the video “Single-tasking is the New Multitasking”, I could not help but to laugh! Not only did I find the video hilarious but incredibly accurate and relatable, specifically in both of my personal and professional life. In fact, while watching/listening to the video, I was checking my work email and Google Docs. I also found myself glancing up at the television, Modern Family was on. I was quite impressed with my multitasking skills. However once the video was over, I sat for a moment and realized that my mind was so pre-occupied by everything I was doing that I might not of fully appreciated the video’s true message. Then I realized, it is extremely difficult for me to simply focus on only one specific task at a time. In fact, I am constantly multitasking in my life. Multitasking allows us to accomplish numerous tasks simultaneously and for many of us, it is often how we get through our busy day. James Hamblin states, “Tabs are a metaphor for life”. I believe this to be true as it is often difficult to be mindfully present on one thing at a time. People’s busy lives are moving at such a fast pace that slowing down to be mindful in the moment may seem challenging to some. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important for everyone to take a few minutes in a day to model a Tabless Thursday, despite how difficult it may be. Furthermore, we all have the opportunity to make changes in our lives. Perhaps limiting our internet use while at work or at home could be a starting point.

Therefore, is the internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions? I believe the answer to this question is yes and no. It is clear the internet is a productivity tool as it offers a wide range of use and enhances learning. However, the internet may only be considered a productive tool depending on the task at hand and how it is utilized. I also believe moderation is key. Many people use the internet for a specific task, whether it be productive or not. The internet has proven to be a productive tool within my life. I am able to search for lesson plans and resources, educational software programs, and activities to support my teaching. However, I am guilty of using the internet for personal pleasure while at home. Focusing more of my attention on the process of single-tasking while on my computer or cell phone may be beneficial in order to manage my time and energy more efficiently as well as improve my work quality. Research has shown us that multitasking “creates and encourages bad brain habits as our brains are not wired to multitask well”. Therefore, changing our wiring by focusing on one tab/task at a time may prove to be worth a try if it will better our health and brain function.

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2 thoughts on “Multitasking…Are we wired for it?

  1. Hi Roxanne, thanks for the great post. I liked your commentary on “rewiring” the brain. It made me think about Siemens’ article on connectivism where he stated that the brain is constantly being rewired. In that article I think he saw the rewiring as positive, almost that it is part of evolution for our brains to adapt to all of this new technology. But I can definitely appreciate how some researchers see it as negative. I like the idea that we are able to wire our brains by focusing on one thing at a time and I also plan to bring more single-tasking into my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the point about ‘it is all about moderation’. I too find myself doing work for school but have several tabs open that I was using for pleasure, like YouTube and BuzzFeed. I need to balance out my time with ‘breaks’ and close out those tabs so I can really stay on task instead of multi tasking and taking twice the amount of time it should.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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