The Effects Of Continuous Partial Attention

718 Words 3 Pages
My typical work day starts with me logging into my computer and checking e-mails. On an average I typically have at least 20 e-mails that require some type of action from me. As I begin to respond and act on e-mails a little icon begins to blink at the bottom of my screen. I have to stop what I am doing and click on it immediately. There is a co-worker that is instant messaging me a request. So I now hop off the e-mails and start to work on the instant message. The phone begins to ring and it is the customer on the phone needing something e-mailed to them immediately. Once again, I stop what I am working on for the instant messaging and open my e-mail to send out the customer’s request. Since I am in the e-mail window pane, I continue …show more content…
I hear a voice behind me saying “Excuse me Rosemary”, so I stop what I am doing to acknowledge the person standing at my cubicle. Yes, another request from a co-worker. The article (Some) Attention Must Be Paid, by Steven Levy discusses Linda’s observation of how technology impacts our ability to focus and the effects of Continuous Partial Attention (CPA). The constant request and actions required at work is a clear indication of the message Linda Stone gave in her speech at the San Diego conference. “The balance has tilted way too far toward distraction, creating a sense of constant crisis”, said Linda Stone. Being approached with problems that need resolutions immediately and prioritizing them is difficult for me to do. What is even more difficult is to focus on a single problem at a time. I consider myself a great multitasker but am constantly challenged to complete tasks at the same …show more content…
I recently attended a four day training where the first item on the agenda was to close down our work laptops and turn off work phones. This was an unusual request at work. In general we all walk around with our laptops from one meeting to the next and some with their work phones. In a meeting we are all constantly checking our e-mails and instant messaging others in relation to topics being discussed in the meeting but more often than not related to other work related tasks. The attention given to those whom coordinated the meeting is limited. Often times a question is asked to be repeated as a result of someone not paying attention initially. In a class environment this type of behavior is not acceptable. However, at work this is the norm. This is also becoming the norm in face to face conversations with family and friends. The article discusses the lack of commitment to an activity or conversation as a result of receiving a phone call or text message. The general populations walks around with cellphones readily accessible. Now in days when a call or message is received, the expectation is to respond immediately. This causes a distraction if you were in the middle of a conversation with someone in person. Acknowledging the call or message doesn’t seem to be a decision rather an automatic reaction. The need to see why

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