"The phones they got us are great!"
"Yeah, it's the Galaxy Note II."
"You can do two things at the same time -- you can watch videos and text..."
"Or you can watch the earnings report and take notes, like we're supposed to... Or you could be doing some work and some other kinds of work."
And that's the problem with society today -- we focus too much on multitasking when we should be focusing on focusing. The Samsung Galaxy Note II, whose recent TV commercial is referenced above, is a perfect example of this. The expectation should not be that we must do two kinds of work at once. This multitasking has put us in danger, made us less productive, less personable, and less patient.
There's even an app called the Type n Walk that will actually show you what's in front of you as you walk so you can type at the same time. The $0.99 app calls itself the, "smarter, safer way to type while you're walking." Well, here's an even safer app that's free: one that allows you to walk while you're walking and type when you're not walking. If you really can't spare a couple seconds to tweet while you're still, then you probably shouldn't be tweeting. It's bad enough we have clumsy people bumping into each other on busy New York streets as it is.
In fact, a new University of Utah study on multitasking found that people who multitask more than anyone else are often the worst at it, and vice versa. The study polled 310 undergraduate psychology students via tests and questionnaires.
Society is training us to have attention deficit disorders, with technology at the core of the problem. Most job applications today ask for candidates with the ability to multitask and, as one friend recalled, an employer actually asked if he could handle seven tasks at once in an interview. He wanted to say, that's how mistakes are made. What about a candidate who won't be on Facebook, instant messaging, and listening to videos as he works?
Now more than ever people are getting tickets and in car accidents, some even fatal, from texting on their phones while driving. A funny, but serious, YouTube video illustrates this: Belgium teens taking their driver's license test were falsely told by their instructor that to pass the test they must be able to drive while using their mobile phones. One candidate was asked to type in a simple text, "I will get French fries" while another one was asked to text, "We'll be a bit late tonight." Not only did candidates misspell words, they crashed into cones that could have been pedestrians.
"Honestly, I feel like an idiot who can't drive!" said the first candidate, later adding, "If this becomes law, I'll stop driving."
That's why Jeff Connally, the CEO and president of CMIT Solutions, an IT service provider for small to mid-sized businesses, instituted a company policy against employee's use of cell phones and other devices while driving -- finding it "dangerous and counterproductive."
The truth is, the very large majority of people can't multitask -- or at least they can't do it effectively. Just look at all the studies that have been conducted. As this August 2012 Mashable infographic illustrates, a mere two percent of people can multitask effectively while the rest of us think we can. And according to the study, those who use a computer while working (nearly everyone, that is) are on average "distracted once every 10.5 seconds."
So if you're reading this article while at work, the chances are that you're also doing something else -- and because of that your productivity has lessened.
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