Multitasking?

FlowTexting saves time and increases productivity, right?

I resisted it, in spite of it being a popular method of communication. I preferred talking with people on the phone or sending email. Articles about tech and social media trends kept telling us how to multi-task and get more done.

So I started texting. It’s useful when attempting to communicate with people who never answer their phones and keep their voicemail boxes full. I try a few times and then send an email telling them why I tried calling them. And send a text to tell then to read their email.

Testing is also useful when attempting to communicate with people who never read their email.

But today I realized how counter-productive texting is for most of the people I interact with. I was writing an article and had a text exchange over twenty-five minutes (six rounds). My attention was destroyed every time the jarring harp alerted me that I had another incoming text. I’d reply and then resume writing.

When I needed to look for a reference, the harp interrupted my process of remembering in which article I’d seen a fact I needed and where I’d filed that article. I added up the time spent trying to re-focus my brain on my writing and article location and realized that I lost forty minutes of creativity time.

Our ability to do two things at once depends upon the prefrontal cortex. If one task is automatic (walking) and the other requires concentration, we can do both without too much brain drain. But if both tasks require thought and concentration, we have to switch back and forth between them. Our brains can’t do both tasks simultaneously. Every time we switch back to a task, our brains require time to recall what we had been doing before we switched to the other task.

The more we switch back and forth, the more fatigued our brains become and the longer it takes to get back on track with whatever we were doing before switching. “If you are doing two things at once, you get worse at both of them.”

As I kept switching back and forth between tasks, I lost track of the flow of my filing system and couldn’t find the resource. I realized that I respect the person with whom I was texting and enjoy talking with him. He’s interesting, smart and is a good human being. I would have preferred a conversation with him. Having a positive interaction (speaking) with someone creates a cascade of events in our brains that promotes neural growth and brain health.

In the world of social media, we can encounter people who are having a bad day or are interested in arguing and creating discord. This creates a different cascade of events in our brains. These interactions cause the release of neurochemicals that can have negative consequences on us.

I prefer to avoid all that.

So from now on, I’m going to call people and talk with them. If I’m a dinosaur, or considered uncool, that’s fine. I like talking with nice people, or “good humans,” as all my animal companion-centered friends call them.

I may save time, boost my creativity and write the book that keeps popping into my consciousness.

Resource: BrainWorld Magazine, “Juggling Responsibilities,” Stephanie Kramer (Spring 2017).

This blog was researched, written and edited by Karen Hallis. She is an organizer and certified professional coach. She uses her attorney skills in her work with clients to help them change their circumstances involving homes, businesses, estates and conflict. Call or contact Karen for a complimentary conversation about working together.