I recently read an article entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", which emphasized a problem I recently have been having. I have noticed that my ability to focus on any one task for extended periods of time has waned and I find myself jumping between many different things during periods of supposed productivity. It is not that I am tired of what I am working on, it is just that I suddenly become jittery and unable to sit still. I find I MUST do something else, even if I have not gotten much done in the interim since this previous feeling had come over me. The article actually calls out that this affliction has happened to the author and several scholars that he knows. The article states that the reason for this is the way social media and the internet are set to deliver us information. The internet has reprogrammed our brains into thinking more in short bursts of information rather than being able to wade in depth into any particular subject.
This drives me nuts. It is also the reason I have been writing shorter and shorter blog posts. 1. because I don't like to read long blog posts so I figure others don't, but 2. because I don't have the time/concentration able to complete such tasks.
Is this a geology related post? Probably not, but I feel it is an academically related post. Academics all around are likely finding similar problems. They either don't have time to focus on one project for long periods of time or they do have time but they don't have the ability to concentrate continually on them. What once was a joy to sit and read a novel for an hour or two has become impossible without doing an internet break a few times. Usually when I get truly into what I am working on, am I able to concentrate for long periods of time, but as soon as that task is completed I feel the urge to check and see if I have any new emails or perhaps someone posted something interesting on Facebook (rarely this is the case, but I like to make sure).
Perhaps by calling out my problem I can figure out a way to fix it. I might be able to retrain my brain to relax and just let things be. Or maybe it is better this way. Maybe by doing multiple things at once, I am really getting more done in the long run.
This is the end of my productivity rant.