#TablessThursday…. I Could Get Used To This Idea!

I would like to start off by saying how much I loved this video. I think this video portrayed a day in the life of me.  I often find myself running off on tangents, having a million tabs open, clicking around trying to figure out which tab I need in order to complete what I am working on.

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(Right now I currently have 13 separate browsers open, most of which have nothing to do with one another… ooppss!!)

I agree that I don’t remember the last time I concentrated on working on one thing without trying to do something else at the same time.  I had a good laugh at the end of the video when he says I don’t doubt that you were doing something else while you were watching the video, of course I was!  I was watching the video, trying to take notes, and organizing piles and piles of things on my desk at work… he caught me

In the video he brings up some good points that are worth discussing.  With the help of research it was suggested that Facebook and texting have negatively affected the overall GPA of College/University students.  I can see why; many students in College/University have their lap tops with them and rather than paying attention to the instruction from the teacher they are focused on Facebook.  The students may think they are able to do both well, however, research shows that if we focus on one thing and only one thing you will be able to do that thing well and to your fullest capability rather than putting in half the effort.

One thing that he has adopted into his own life was Tab-less Thursday.  Tab-less Thursday suggests that you don’t use the internet in a traditional way, you single task, you do one thing, you can do work but only on ONE thing at a time.  Once you begin working with this mindset you can make a judgement call, “Do I want to finish what I am working on or do I want to stop and do something else?”  I really like this idea. However, in my daily life I think it would be a hard task for me to exercise this mindset on a continual basis.  I would love to say I am only working on one thing and can devote all my attention to what I am working on. However, I often find this becomes quite a challenge for me.  I am the kind of person with a million things going on at once. I will watch television and be on my phone at the same time. I will make supper while watching television and still check my phone continually.  When I am working on a computer I always have several tabs open researching a number on topics and for a variety of different reasons.  I would say I am up for the challenge, it is my goal one day a week to set everything aside and focus on one task at a time.  If we make a conscious effort to do this, I think the things we are focusing on will be more successful.  “Tabs are a metaphor for life, if you can have one open and focus on that you will do great at it.”

This video suggests “Heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli” – proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  When I hear this statement I think about my students at school.  I think our students are growing up in a world where multi-tasking is the norm.  Multi-tasking can be a great quality to have but it can also create obstacles and challenges along the way.  Our students that are used to interruptions and things going on around them will often find themselves being distracted.  I think about trying to teach a lesson and all the distractions that go along with it. I never would have thought students who are heavy media multitaskers are more likely to be interrupted by these distractions than those who don’t – this does not surprise me.

Technology and how we interact with it has affected us in everyday life. Are we developing an inability to focus because we don’t focus on one thing at a time? He brought up a good point and I would definitely have to say yes.  We are constantly multi-tasking and trying to do more than one thing at a time, therefore, our focus is being divided up among many things.

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If our focus is being divided up into many things, this would attribute to our inability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.  I often see this in my students. I know there are many other reasons why students are unable to focus, however, I do believe and agree that the use of technology perhaps has attributed their inability to focus on the task at hand.

Another interesting point that was addressed in the video was “When workers don’t check email, they focus for longer on tasks and show less physiologic signs of stress” – Mark & Voida, Proceedings of SIGHI Conference on Human factors in Computing.  I think about my work life; email has become a big part of it.  Just today I had a parent emailing about their child’s grade that they were able to view on gradebook.  This added to my stress as I was already trying to teach my classes but also felt obligated to return their email explaining their child’s grade.  If I hadn’t of checked my email until the end of the day, I would definitely have been less stressed about everything going on.  This is just one example of how email can attribute to a person’s stress levels.

When I think about life in general, I think we are all multi taskers in some fashion or another.  My husband would be a prime example.  He went over and above when he decided the basement needed to become a “man cave”.  In the man cave some nights he is watching television (football or hockey), playing a video game, doing something on the Ipad, texting and has the baby monitor down there listening for my son.  It often crosses my mind how he could possibly be doing so many things at once. Although he is able to do all these things at once, is he doing them to the best of his capabilities? Probably not!  I would definitely say the internet can become a big distraction, however, it also enables us to do many things that without it would or could be impossible.  I think we need to moderate what we are doing and learn to focus on one thing at a time, this way we can ensure we are putting our best effort forward towards the task at hand.

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2 thoughts on “#TablessThursday…. I Could Get Used To This Idea!”

  1. I agree, I would also like to give the Tabless Thursday a go. Just like you, I will cook supper, watch tv, answer texts, pause the tv to play guitar etc. I can’t remember the last time I sat down, with one tab open, and just worked. I never really noticed how big of a multi tasker I am and how long it takes me to finish a task before watching this video!

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  2. I can relate to so many things in your post and I could comment on a lot of it but I’ll try touch on a few things. I often wonder if having 13 tabs open is a bad thing? I too often have multiple tabs open at once. Often it’s related to the task at hand. This usually happens when I am researching or writing a blog for this class. I have my blog open, but I am going back and forth between pages to cite sources or read articles. I feel like that is needed in order to get the work done. I think the issue is having 13 tabs open that aren’t related to the task at hand which is just what you talked about. That’s when we create problems for ourselves.

    In terms of the emails, I too check my email often (although I tend to stay away from it outside of school hours). I feel that as helpful as emails can be it has also created a culture in which people expect replies within minutes, or an hour. Often times this is not possible. I tell my students this all the time…”if you email me in the evening, especially late evening, don’t expect a reply right away”. I tell them I’m not being rude or ignoring them, it’s the fact that I have a family, I take my own classes, I have extra curricular activities that don’t allow me to be at my computer every minute. It’s an interesting issue.

    Thanks for sharing!

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