Prof Sophie Leroy, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, conducted two experiments where she found that people are less productive when they are multitasking or switching between tasks. In her 2009 research paper published as “Why is it so hard to do my work?…” : her abstract states : “…people need to stop thinking about one task in order to fully transition their attention and perform well on another. Yet, results indicate it is difficult for people to transition their attention away from an unfinished task and their subsequent task performance suffers.”
Professor Carl Newport’s’* now famous book – Deep Work : Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – refers to the paper in an attempt to explain our distracted, shallow work habits. Our ‘infomania’ coupled with the urge to constantly check & respond to mails, messages, tweets, posts or even a quick call leaves our attention hanging onto the last task making our current pursuit shallow and sloppy.
He prescribes the following:
1. Embrace Deep Work – make it part of the plan and develop a deliberate routine that works for you – from shutting yourself off from the world to ‘rhythmic philosophy’ – slotting deep work at the same time daily.
2. Embrace Boredom – We suffer an addiction to distraction. Without distraction you will suffer boredom, which if embraced will lead to deep work.
3. Quit Social Media – identify which parts create success and happiness in professional and personal life.
4. Drain the Shallows – Most people have a capacity of 4 hours of deep work. To build up starting with 1 would be good. Don’t underestimate how much TV / Social screen time we are spending. Don’t be rigid about schedule. If a task overflows continue to focus instead of quitting and moving on to the next.
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Link to Sophie Leroy’s paper : https://bit.ly/2Ckzive
Link to Digital Minimalism ( pre order ) : https://bit.ly/2DaRnNT