Today’s London Times has a very interesting article today based on some research study which contrasted the cognitive differences between ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ media multi-taskers.
They focused usage of 12 mediums; print, tv, internet video, music, non-music audio, video games, phone calls, IM, SMS, email, web surfing and office programs.
Unsurprisingly the light users had greater focus on staged tasks. But that only tells half the story in my opinion and the full study by Clifford Nass of Stanford University is required reading – if I can focus on finding it with all these distractions ! (Just checked $10 for 2 days access to the PDF – will save my dollars for when I have more time !).
The critical thing , in my opinion, is that multi-tasking is not only a good thing but critical to the mission with two conditions;
(1) The channels must be relevant and accurate.
(2) You do, occasionally, cut yourself off to focus on tasks which require purity of thought.