How To Train Your Attention and Be Effective When Working Online

Beth Kanter, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, Sept 27, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

OK, I have a cat that sits on my desk right in front of my keyboard, so I know about being distracted. But then again, I'm usually playing on Facebook or Twitter, so I guess it's a wash. But I'm not sure I need to go on an Information Diet, even if Clay Johnson recommends it. And I think that Daniel J. Levitin's distinction between task-negative and task-positive modes of consciousness is just so much made-up stuff. I haven't observed Linda Stone's 'email apnea' in myself (I have the regular kind of apnea, so I know what to look for). See, the presumption here is that the conversations we have online are interfering with the work we're supposed to be doing. But increasingly, these conversations are the work we're supposed to be doing. And if your work is taking you away from the network, maybe you should re-examine your work. It may be dysfunctional.

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