No, I didn’t need to see Sunday’s New York Times article to know how counterproductive multi-tasking can be. “Slow Down, Multitaskers, and Don’t Read in Traffic, by Steve Lohr, March 25, 2007. Of course, “knowing” and “acting accordingly” are two very different things. The Times warns “Confident multitaskers of the world” that neuroscientists, psychologists and management professors are all suggesting “that many people would be wise to curb their multitasking behavior when working in an office, studying or driving a car.” Their advice:
“Check e-mail messages once an hour, at most. Listening to soothing background music while studying may improve concentration. But other distractions — most songs with lyrics, instant messaging, television shows — hamper performance. Driving while talking on a cellphone, even with a hands-free headset, is a bad idea.
“In short, the answer appears to lie in managing the technology, instead of merely yielding to its incessant tug.”
Over the past few years, the f/k/a Gang has harped on the dangerous irresponsibility of Driving While Phoning, and bemoaned the effects of mutiltasking and techno-distraction on our productivity. In the well-titled post “multi-non-tasking,” you’ll find tips on controlling technology, and the admonition that “If you don’t already possess the basic skills to manage information, technology might become a hindrance more than a help — it becomes a liability, a part of the problem.” (See Paul Chin’s article “Unplugged: Information Overload Requires a Human Solution,” Intranet Journal, Oct. 13, 2005).
Multi-taskers Dream Toilet, from DutchCowboys.
empty farm wagon
a cell phone
buzzing under the hay
In 2005, I admitted that: “I wish I could absolve myself for my inefficient use of technology (such as checking emails and weblog-referrers far too often), but the main culprit is indeed the guy whose image is reflected in the glare of my computer screen.” Despite that confession, I never learned my lesson. Instead, multitasking woes increased exponentially (and existentially), when I established a second, fullblown weblog at the end of last summer, SHLEP: the Self-Help Law ExPress. The temptation to interrupt my work flow constantly, in order to make one more Google search or ensure that I hadn’t missed a Comment or email message, was incessant, and I gave in day in and night out. Last week, I finally came to my senses and put in my resignation notice at shlep (while noting my pride in its accomplishments and asking for help in finding shlep a good a adoptive home).
in the middle
of the distraction —
………………………………. by dagosan
The good news for f/k/a fans, of course, is that my period of neglecting f/k/a should soon be over, and (health and technology-willing) The Gang will be back to its old tricks very soon. More one-breath poetry and breathless punditry are on their way, tempered — I hope — with an increasingly zen-like ability to attend to one thing at a time. Meanwhile:
- You’ll smile at this Buddhist Monk Multi-tasking cartoon
- You’ll wince at the news that more and more drivers are likely to be playing computer games on their Blackberries. “Maker of Mobile Games Brings Line to BlackBerry,” New York Times, March 26, 2007. And,
- You’ll surely scratch your heads to learn that firms now have to worry about lawsuits, and claims for overtime pay, from stressed-out employees who can’t resist checking from home on their office email and projects, using company-supplied PDAs. “How to Avoid Lawsuits by Tech-Driven Employees,” by Frank C. Morris Jr., New Jersey Law Journal, March 9, 2007 (via Point of Law, March 23, 2007)
An-often benign distraction this time of year, of course, are thoughts of Spring Training and the upcoming baseball season. This very posting got delayed tonight (until after “24” was over), because my advance copy of Baseball Haiku arrived in the mail this afternoon (see our prior post). The book should be at stores this weekend, and shipping from Amazon.com too (at a nice discount). The book contains over 200 of the best haiku written about baseball, by 44 poets. In a starred review, Library Journal said that: “Not one of those parody collections. . . . . [it] inspire some ball fans to be poets and some poets to be ballplayers.” You’re going to get a few sneak peaks this week right here at f/k/a, with selections by some of f/k/a‘s Honored Guests Poets, and by its editor, Cor van den Heuvel, the primary spirit behind Baseball Haiku.
Tonight’s haiku and senryu seem to suggest that even baseball can breed multi-tasking and moments of lost focus.
last day of school . . .
the crack of a bat
through an open window
…………by Randy Brooks – Baseball Haiku (2007)
the rookie pitcher
blows a bubble
the shortstop backpedals
…………………………by ed markowski from Baseball Haiku (2007)
“bases loaded” – orig. pub. Haiku Sun #10 (2004)
law firm picnic
the ump consults
…………………… by dagosan – Baseball Haiku (2007)
geese flying north
the pitcher stops his windup
dispute at second base
the catcher lets some dirt
run through his fingers
listening to the ball game
while washing the car
…………………………. by Cor van den Heuvel – Baseball Haiku (2007),
orig pub. Play Ball (Red Moon Press 1999)
Want more baseball haiku from our Honored Guest poets? Head over to the f/k/a Baseball Haiku page, which incidentally is the first result today for the query “baseball haiku” at both Yahoo Search and Google Search.