Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Multi-Tasking Reduces Attention Span

We live in such a fast-paced world these days, it’s hard to keep up. To make matters worse, in the last decade a plethora of electronic gadgets has flooded our lives. Wait, is plethora the right word? Let me look it up with the Dictionary app on my tablet. Yup, OK, it means “overabundance” or “boatload.” Some guys I work with might say a different kind of load, as their language tends to be a little salty. Wait, is salty the right word? Hang on. Yes, that’s right.

Anyway, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, there is so much information and mental stimulation coming at us from so many different directions nowadays, our lives have become like one of those nightmare dream sequences in a movie, where the main character is wandering through Times Square in a daze while zillions of people and lights go flashing by in a blur. What movie was that? Let me ask Siri on my iPhone. Hey Siri, what’s the movie with the guy wandering around Times Square? No, I don’t need a restaurant reservation in Times Square. I’m looking for a movie, maybe from the ‘70s, and the guy’s having a bad dream. No, I don’t need movie times for a theater on 70th street. Oh forget it. You are so stupid, Siri.

I’ve begun to realize in recent years that I spend all my waking hours multi-tasking. This comes in handy at work since I get bombarded with requests from a multitude of customers all day long. Wait, is multitude the right word? Hold on. Hmm, multitude is OK, but a better word would be host or horde or legion or swarm or, again, boatload. You know, having this dictionary/thesaurus application at my fingertips is pretty cool. I sure wish I had it when I took Freshman Composition in college. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten a C-minus. Or maybe I could’ve just gone online and copied essays from some of those smart guys, like Walter Shakespeare and Clive Dickens. Wait, are those their right names? Let me look it up. Oh yeah, William and Charles. I knew that.

Where was I? Oh right, multi-tasking. During the day I have to juggle so many things in my head at once, because everyone is looking for product information or prices or delivery schedules, and they all need it ASAP. Oh wow, I just remembered I forgot to send a quotation to a good customer yesterday afternoon. Rats, he’s going to be honked off. Is honked the right word? Hang on. Yes, honked is one of many very appropriate and occasionally salty words. Let me make a note to get that quote to him. Let’s see, should I enter it as a “task” on my phone, tablet, or computer? I know, I’ll go the old-fashioned route: I’ll write a note to myself on a piece of paper. Um, does anybody have a pencil?

The thing about being bombarded with information these days is that my attention span is now about the same as a chipmunk on crack. Sometimes I can’t go more than a few moments — oh wait, here’s a pencil, but now I forgot what I was going to write down. Siri, what was I going to write a note to myself about? No, I don’t want to order a copy of “Notes to Myself” by Hugh Prather. What are you even talking about, Siri? 

Maybe I’m suffering from Attention Deficit Digital Disorder. Sometimes I think my brain is going into overload mode. Wait, is overload the right word? Hang on, this will only take a second — the exact length of my attention span.

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