RSS
 

Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category

Multi-tasking Bandwagon

12 Apr

As I continue to share my theory on the myth of multi-tasking [1,2], I am encouraged to see the great minds that publish opinions and research on the subject supporting the same thoughts I’ve had for years. I’m glad that other, more credible people, are expressing these same thoughts and validating what feels like is a difficult concept to raise much support for. So below, I will share links on this topic as I find them.

 

Multi-Tasking Revisited

17 May

Over a year ago, I expressed my theory and opinion about multi-tasking. I still haven’t changed my viewpoint and have further added to how I share my vision with others.

Initially when I share my thought that multi-tasking is a myth with people I know, they don’t quite fully support or agree with me. There seems to be a general understanding of my logic, but a resistance to buy into it. It’s not a concept that I typically share at work either – at least not early since people sometimes feel that my lack of belief in multi-tasking may mean that I am not up to the task or that I’m not as productive as my peers. It’s this association with productivity that makes people grab on to the idea that not only is multi-tasking a positive and productive attribute, but it’s something that they have built much of their professional and personal images on.

The additional explanation that I include with my theory these days includes the idea that not all tasks require the same intense level of focus to execute successfully. It’s because of this fact, that the appearance of multi-tasking is allowed to be argued. For example, people argue that they can walk and chew bubble gum or drive and talk on the phone at the same time.

So does that mean people can multi-task? No. It’s task swapping. A person focuses for some time on a given task and then focuses on another and back again and so on. This can be done in the span of seconds per task or small fractions of seconds. As you add more tasks, you juggle this time slicing between all the parts and reduce the overall percentage of time you spend focused on performing any given task.

Some tasks are very elementary are can be done with virtually no effort at all – they’re almost instinctual, requiring little attention or effort to get done. An example of this is chewing bubble gum. Very little effort or focus is needed to do this successfully. So it’s no wonder that you can do this while also doing other menial tasks. But increase the difficulty of the activity at hand and you can not afford to split your attention between several or even a single other activity.

Imagine, as an example, that you are driving down a long stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere; no cars sharing the road with you. The road is flat and wide, there are clear skies above and you are in no rush to be anywhere quickly. You drive easily and without any anxiety. You find it easy to reach for the cooler in the seat next to you. And without needing to stop or pull over, you begin removing the ingredients to prepare your snack. No big deal, “multi-tasking” successful.

Now let’s just change a little bit of this scenario. The road is now narrow and winding. It’s dark and crowded on the streets and you’re rushing to get your child to the emergency room. How likely is it that you could successfully prepare your snack as you could in the scenario above?

The point is that as the intensity, level of difficulty or criticality of the task at hand increases, this will raise the focus demand to the point that there is no time “free” to swap in another task. That is, we cannot focus 100% to more than a single task at once. We can focus 50% to two seperate tasks if they can each be accomplished with that level of attention. But that will ultimately be swapping back and forth and not truly concurrent.

My observations are built on my own logic and experience over my lifetime. I could be wrong, but I think it’s a theory that makes a lot of sense. And it turns out that there are others who share this opinion too. It turns out that they happen to have PhD following their names and have spent countless hours and dollars to prove and support this theory.

Until next time, gotta run. I’m having a hard time writing this and watching Spider Man 3.

Cheers,

Bob

 
 

Discovering the Truth

03 Jan

1. There is no such thing as win-win. Someone will lose; you just haven’t identied them in your analysis.
2. You cannot save your way to wealth. But you can save your way to financial freedom.
3. Macro ecomonics can be explained by way of a good poker analogy.

 

Incredible Inspirational Last Lecture

26 Jul

I have just spent the last one hour and sixteen minutes watching a lecture from a professor, Randy Pausch, at Carnegie Mellon University and it was amazing for every second. I followed a link off of the Google search page (I know I should have been using live.com instead. I’ll work on that) which was very underemphasized and inconspicuous. I don’t recall what I was going to search over an hour ago on this Saturday midday, but it was time well spent.

The weather outside is wonderful. It’s a clear breezy day with the sun out and the temperature about 65 degrees or so. I have been planning to do some quick errands and then attend a company picnic. I was NOT planning to sit on the couch to watch an hour long lecture on my small computer screen. But I will encourage you all to take the time to watch it. You will be inspired!

 

 

 
 

Stanford Prison Experiment

24 Mar

I just finished reading the Stanford Prison Experiment at http://www.prisonexp.org/ and was completely fascinated while reading it. It’s a fairly quick read and sets out to study the effects of a prison environment on the prisoners and prison guards assuming that all individuals entering are “normal”.

If you prefer not to read the whole story and want to know the Reader’s Digest version, just let me know and I’ll share it with you. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone else.

 
 

Missing Blizzard

08 May

Today we put our long time cat down to rest. Blizzard was 16 years old, 85ish in cat years. While he’s had a good long life, beginning with us when he was only a few weeks old, it still seems like we should have more time with him.

Blizzard

Stephanie and I found an ad for a white kitten with blue eyes that was just a couple weeks old on the bulletin board at our apartment complex where we first lived together. When we visited his owner at the time, he seem anxious and ready to leave the environment. Their young toddler thought that the kitten was more of a baseball than a kitten. Steph reached to pick him up and he scaled up her shirt like a fugitive desperate for freedom. We took him home and started a new life with him.

Blizzard was a fiesty cat who was very independent. He sometimes would let you pet his belly, but would then “attack” your hand with his claws and teeth in the next second. As he aged, he settled more. He was a very affectionate cat who developed a routine of laying around the house and securing his place on our bed each night. His favorite spot was up upon Steph’s chest with his face close to hers. He managed to capture more time in our bed than any of our kids ever did.

To many, myself included, it’s difficult to appreciate someone else’s loss of a family pet. It seems fairly minimal compared to other losses people experience. But when you have to make a decision about a lucid, content family pet who is staring back in your eyes, happy to be back home after 24 hours at the emergency room veterenarian’s clinic being poked and prodded, it’s more difficult than you may give credit. You see, the decision is not necessary black and white. It’s a decision between what IS versus what MAY be. After all, it is a living breathing life that you’re deciding for. Not easy.

Add to this mix, explaining to small kids what has happened, why it has happened, what happens next, etc. Each child comprehends the death at different levels and associates different emotions, questions and actions that took place with it.

The only part that makes this loss a little easier is that we knew his outlook was not good. We were able to spend some time with him and just love on him before we put him to sleep.

He will be missed. He’s the last of the three pets we got early in our relationship before our “other” children came along. So our connection to those early days has no left with Blizzard. We have plenty of pictures and fond memories of Blizzard. Rest in peace Blizzard.

 
 

When I Reach For You

18 Mar

Sometimes when I give you an unexpected kiss.
A nuzzle on the neck –
or a pat –
on whatever interesting place is handy –
you ask, “What was that for?”
Not so much from doubt,
but to hear me say “I love you” one more time.

A habit? Maybe – but a good one.
For all of that –
for in the Fall –
Or is it the Winter of our lives –
saying “I love you” one more time takes on meanings
it could not have when we were so delightfully young,
disgustingly slender and so smart we knew all there was worth knowing.
My “I love you” is deeper now –
It has shades, tones, textures, patterns
it could not have known before.

When I reach for you.
It is with the deep sense of the goodness
of the years
With you
My Love.

Author: Kaye Gibbons
Date: Unknown, circa 1990


This poem from my Aunt is very insightful, touching and helpful. Each time I read it is like the first time I did. Knowing someone personally who has written something like this biases you, I’m sure. But even without knowing this woman (one of my favorite relatives of all), you can learn something from her words.I often wonder about life and especially what to expect as I get older. This poem helps to shed some light on the subject. I value my Aunt’s words knowing how caring and intelligent she was. If I did not respect her, these words would simply be words.

There may be a time in my life that I write something to capture some lessons learned with my time here, but I don’t know that it will be nearly as good as this poem. I can only try and hope so.

Although I didn’t spend a great deal of time with her, I formed a concrete sense of her personality. She was a wonderful person whom I will remember in a positive light always.