The video Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking mentioned about “Heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli”. The more thought I give to it, the more concerned I am by the consequences. Because just now, I was doing some academic work while watching some videos. I want to make myself a multitasker who is performing a variety of different tasks at a time as I thought it could save some time, however, I have to admit I haven’t taken in of both just as what the guy said in the video.
Questions raised: Is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions? Has the Internet created a world of ‘multitaskers’ who don’t accomplish as much as they could have without it?
Compared to it is now, the life 20 years ago seemed boring and unbearable. No internet, no smartphone, no social media. If you want to check for information, you have to refer to printed books. If you want to communicate with someone, you have to either stop by his or her place or write letters. People have to do one thing at a time. However, due to the exposure of the digital age, people can finish multiple tasks at the same time. For example, a person can access thousands of academic papers by searching the descriptors in an instant. A person can know the discounts by checking online without changing clothes and driving to the store. A person can browse news while having the latest released talk show on. In this sense, multitaskers may accomplish more with the help of the Internet in the same unit of time.
The Internet brings possibilities to finish multitasks at the same time, together with endlessly distractions. There are so many hyperlinks in one article which keeping people browsing online. Social media pop up tons of information that might be attracting costumer every day by analyzing their keywords. I have one friend who resists being a slave of mobile phones and social media because he wants to concentrate on his own academic work as he believes social media is too distracting. It prevents him to remain productive.
The Internet opens new windows easily. Distance and time won’t be a problem to block information exchanging anymore. The Internet makes the impossible 20 years ago possible today. When I search for information on one topic, more information on related topics can be popped up. Can we truly say we have finished multitasks effectively in the light of so many distractions?
However, Internet products can make a group work very effective and immersed. I will use my own experience to illustrate it.
I haven’t started using Google Drive until I attended Alec’s EdTech course three years ago. Google drive was very convenient for group works and interactions. I like Microsoft office design and functions better, but now I switched to Google suites in more situations as I can access my files and work on them anywhere anytime without worrying about saving them or looking for where did I leave the latest version. Also, I can share the documents with my partners. They can easily mark and comment on my work to make suggestions. Chatting is very convenient, and we can focus on working on one project at the same time. Though we cannot meet each other in person, their images and moving cursors tell me that we are meeting. We can be very concentrated on the project for hours as everyone is typing, editing or chatting around the project. In this sense, productivity suits do not distract at all but engage everyone effectively.
Well, it looks like an endless circle as it can surely reach some dilemmas. Let’s go back to the “multitaskers” question. Actually, researchers have found that our brains have a limited capacity to process information. The multitasking is just jumping back and forth between different tasks. It won’t make us being extremely productive, on the contrary, multitaskers are often inefficient and ineffective at the tasks. It may not save time than unitasking but increasing the possibility to make errors. However, unitaskers are likely to maintain deep and uninterrupted thought.
My classmate Kyla made a very good suggestion: “Organize similar categories of tasks and projects together on your schedule. Again, that keeps in the same mindset for a longer period of time.”. I think it is a wonderful combination of being both multitasking and unitasking!