Are you a Multitasker?

The New York times published an article last week, Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price. The article discusses the effects of technology as it relates to multitasking and how the technology revolution may be affecting our brains neural processes. An interesting read if you are like me and spend the majority of your day multitasking online via a number of devices.

The article states the average person spends 12 hours a day enjoying media at home, a large portion of which is enjoyed simultaneously (i.e. TV & Web). This represents a 240% increase since 1960. I’m not sure how I would have filled a day in 1960, but it’s clear that the web and tech gadgets have completely changed the way we live and learn. On a recent subway ride, I observed that awkward commuter stares have been replaced by an obsession with checking and responding to emails on smart phones, playing highly addictive games on handhelds, and balancing Starbucks on electronic reading devices. Is it possible that we know more about the lives of our distant acquaintances on Facebook then our own family members? I’m not complaining because I’m a technology junkie, but I can’t help but wonder if my multitasking skills can be leveraged to manage a life rich in real-world experience alongside rapidly changing technologies.

Inquisitively, I took the two quick multitasking tests highlighted in the article… My Result: I am a multitasker – through and through! It turns out that I often struggle with focusing on one task when a number of distractions are presented, but I maintain accuracy and vigor switching between several tasks with ease. I’d love to coin myself a “super multitasker”, afterall I did have 6 applications, 8 browser windows, 12 queries, a phone call and several emails on the go. The truth is – I would rather put my PC to sleep than close all my applications for a complete shut down… now, if only I could balance my personal life this way.

Try the quick test for yourself and see how you fare.
Test your Focus
Multitasking test

Focus Test

Measuring Switching Costs

Letters & Numbers

Can you Ignore Distractions?

Switching Tasks Results

Can’t wait to hear about your results!


2 responses to “Are you a Multitasker?

  1. Mister Reiner

    I choose to multitask certain things, but not others. In a work environment, I can multitask my work, email, phone calls and conversation. I can be interrupted without losing my train of thought. Outside of work, I like to remain focused on what I’m doing and I don’t like to be bothered. Go figure.

  2. Thank you very much for linking that chronicle at the NYTimes. I’m very interested in this subject, that’s why I enjoyed it so much.
    I liked your post too. 🙂

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