Managing Your Gadgets

Rethinking how you use your smartphone and other gadgets was the subject of an opinion piece on The Washington Post website recently.

The piece, written by Daniel Sieberg, former science and technology correspondent for CBS and CNN, refers to multitasking (“the preferred excuse of the gadget-obsessed”) as not being all it’s cracked up to be:

A study published in the journal Science in April 2010 found that performing multiple simultaneous tasks leaves the brain somewhat baffled (the phrase “jack of all trades and master of none” comes to mind), while a 2009 Stanford University study found that massive multitaskers are easily distracted and have a hard time sorting out irrelevant information. This unfocused state often results in irrational decision-making. Our brains are, as Washington neurologist Richard Restak put it to me, being “sculpted” by digital forces.

The piece goes on to suggest taking a break from your gadgets, as well as setting time limits and respecting some “digital rules.” For example, “I must choose the human or the device. If someone is talking to me, I will do my best to put my gadget aside and listen to them.”

For more on this topic, read Did You Get the Message? by Steve Silberman.