Today we watched a Google talk about Information Overload, given by Daniel Levitin.
He talks about three big ideas to do with Information overloads. Multitasking, Brain Extenders and Decision making.
He begins by talking about how Multitasking is a myth. That what we call multitasking is actually sequential tasking. That our brain is shifting its attention back and forth between different tasks and we perceive that as doing all these tasks at once. When really our attention is fractionated.
I have always had a problem with multitasking. My brain becomes overwhelmed by the movie on the tv while I’m trying to read an article. I have been calling these things a distraction, I am glad someone believes its just my brain fractionating its attention span.
He believes that multitasking is an illusion. It does not make us more productive, if anything I believe it makes us less attentive.
Levitin spoke about decision making and the ability to make decisions. Taking regular breaks aids in our brains ability to think. Going for walks to ‘clear your head’ is actually phycological. Being out in nature and taking a break from work, people tend to come up with their best ideas then.
When speaking about overtime, he talks about how productive our overtime is. So 20 hours of overtime could only be 7 hours of productive working time. This is interesting for time management in college. When working on a project, I tend to spend longer hours instead of shorter productive bursts.
Brain extenders are something I struggle with in my own life. Remember to bring a book to class, takes up brain power. So lately I have been leaving stuff I need for the next day on my desk beside my bag. This process is known as externalise, like note taking. This frees up space in my mind. The ultimate brain extender is the technology in our lives, your phone. I feel we are too reliant on Google. We don’t learn off information because we can look it up again and again whenever and where ever. However once we search one thing, a massive amount of information is thrown at us. It is up to us to be selective about the information we receive.
I found his point about Information Literacy particularly interesting. That in todays world, it is not about getting the information, its about knowing if it is the right information and how to use the information. In school we had to learn ‘off by heart’ now, Levity suggest it should be more about what to do with the information you receive.
So in a time where we are bombarded by information, I don’t think we need to shy away or turn off. But more so be active in the sorting process of this information so you can be selective. Take a break from your work and free your mind. If you are able to do this, you won’t be as stress and your brain won’t be as stress