Posted on

Time Management Bulletin #3

Is the Internet making us stupid?

We tend to ridicule those who print articles from the web instead of reading them in electronic format where they may be accompanied by links to supporting information, images and videos. But according to Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to our Brains (Norton, 2010), studies by psychologists, neurologists and educators find that when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.

Links are particularly distracting, and studies show that jumping between digital documents impedes understanding. Comprehension declines whether or not people actually click on them.

According to Carr’s book, the depth of our intelligence hinges on our ability to transfer information from working memory (short-term memory) to long-term memory. But a bottleneck is created since working memory can only hold a relatively small amount at a time.

When we are swamped with information, links, images, and advertising, the information spills over, so to speak, and doesn’t make it into our long-term storage. It’s like watering a house plant by continuing to pour on more water without giving it a chance to soak in.

But when we read books for instance, we transfer information a little at a time into long-term memory and form associations essential to the creation of knowledge and wisdom.


Principles of delegation

Don’t always delegate to your best people. Use delegation to strengthen weaker employees.

Never delegate what you can eliminate. Only delegate important, challenging tasks to your staff.

Follow-up; but don’t hover over. Encourage initiative and creativity.

Evaluate results, and allow flexibility in methods.

Delegate; don’t abdicate. Remain a resource and keep them on course.

Praise in public; criticize constructively in private.

 

Quotes from the eBook, “Time to be Productive,” by Harold L Taylor

“Time management is not doing more things in less time; it’s doing more important things in the time that we have.”

“I feel we are accomplishing little more than we have always accomplished. We’re just doing it at a higher speed. The time saved is being used up by interruptions and trivial activities.”

“All successful business owners need to get out of their day-to-day busyness and make time for long-range planning.”

Posted on

We are overwhelming our brain

overwhelmed

overwhelmed

Does technology really make us more effective?

Getting more things done faster is no longer limited by technology, but by our brain. Our brain has a limited capacity for processing information, and this limit is being approached and frequently passed by the ever-increasing rate at which it is being assaulted by new information.

In the past decade, Internet use has expanded by 566%. It is estimated that 40% of all people of the world are now online. According to the book The End of Absence by Michael Harris, by 2012 we were searching for information via Google more than 1 trillion times each year. We “liked” 4.5 billion items on Facebook and uploaded hundreds of hours of video on YouTube for every minute of real time. With over 6 billion cell phones in use, and the average teenager sending about 4000 text messages each month according to Nielsen research, it is not difficult to imagine the impact on our brain. Torkel Klingberg, in his book The overflowing brain, claims “boundaries are no longer defined by technology, but by own biology.” Torkel mentions a survey of workplaces in the U.S. that showed workers were being interrupted every three minutes, and people have an average of eight windows open at the same time.

Ed Hallowell, who has written several books related to ADD and ADHD, coined the expression “attention deficit trait” to describe the ADHD -like symptoms being displayed by adults and induced by a business environment that is now characterized by a fast pace, rapid change, constant interruptions and information overload.

The impact of multitasking alone is now so obvious that it cannot be ignored. The human factors and ergonomics Society estimates that 2600 deaths and 330,000 injuries are caused each year in the U.S. by motorists speaking on their cell phones while driving. Daniel J Levinson, in his book The organized mind, claims that multitasking also disrupts the kind of sustained thought usually required for problem-solving and creativity. He also indicated the impact of interruptions when he said the awareness of an email waiting to be answered can reduce our IQ by 10 points.

Absorbing new information also burns energy. And it takes more energy to multitask, make decisions and work on demanding tasks. To maximize brain efficiency, we must protect our brain from energy- draining activities encouraged, if not caused, by technology.

We must continue to use technology and all that it has to offer in order to improve both our performance and lifestyle. But we must do so in a manner that protects our health – including the health of our brain. This involves judicious use of the Internet, control of technology, and the practice of moderation as opposed to excess.