I’ve got 8 tabs open right now. That’s right, 8.
Make that 9, just checked on my Cleveland Browns. They’re losing…
As James Hanblin says in his Youtube video on multitasking with tabs…
I don’t doubt that you’re probably doing something else while you’re watching this.
Maybe he’s on to something… I do seem to take about 5 times as long as I estimate for a typical blog post… I seem to take equally long to read articles, but somehow only when I am reading them online …. that’s so weird …
In all seriousness, the fact that I am a poor multi-tasker is not a new revelation to me. I’ve known this anecdotally from my undergraduate days when I gradually became aware of just how much information I could retain short term as I crammed for exams, provided I shut myself in and systematized my studying. As Scott relates with an anecdote, I think I have some self-awareness of how hard it is, on a personal level, to actually multi-task: “On the bright side, I actually noticed this, put my phone somewhere out of reach and turned off the TV.” That’s not to say that I don’t fall back into the same habits though …
Wait, Browns scored a touchdown! Single possession game!
So yeah, as I was saying,… yeah, I’ve definitely found myself in the same position Hanblin recounts when he says:
And then I’m like, Whooah, I’ve gotten a lot done on my paper… not!
Even this post is, to be frankly honest, taking way longer than it should.
Its all the Internet’s Fault
So, that begs the question that prompted this blog post to begin with. Is the internet really a productivity tool? Or is it really an ingenious tool of distraction? Honestly? It can be either! Or both! It all depends on how it is being used.
While it’s easy to say that the internet provides an unlimited amount of distractions, I am the one who clicked on them. I’m the one who opened 9 tabs. I’m the one who did not exert the self control to stay focused, to stay on task. The internet isn’t a person I can blame for my shortfalls, it’s a tool that is being employed as I deployed it.
The internet is a tool that can certainly be used as a magnificent productivity tool. In his YouTube comparison of Google and Microsoft’s productivity suites, Christopher Magnussen illuminates the kinds of things that are actually made possible by using these online tools. Simultaneously collaborating with coworkers on a single document,for example, is actually pretty huge. Implications on data storage are also pretty dramatic. For me personally, as an LRT, gone are the days where I needed to keep paper copies of IIPs to refer to.
Oh come on! Browns, you’re blowing it. AGAIN!
When you think about it, this isn’t even a new trend. Revolutionary innovations of the past have always come with a cost, and potential for misuse. As Peter (also known as Spiceworks) points out in his article, technology has long been in the business of “helping organizations and individuals complete tasks more quickly while exerting less effort.”
The printing press, for example, literally gave birth to a revolution, and also made it so much easier to spread disinformation. And how about the phone? It’s made it possible to chat with anybody across the globe, in real time. It’s also made it possible to talk with anybody, across the globe, in real time, about anything other than what we are supposed to be doing.
My answer to our blog prompt this week, asking us “Is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions?” is simple.
It depends on me, the user.
We’re back in it baby!