Can we be productive in a world full of constant updates? Will we adapt or will we burn out? Linda Stone and William Powers at AIF 2011
Our conversation is about productivity with a focus on output and quantity. What if we shifted our conversation to one about engagement, with a focus on outcomes and quality?
Watching Cameron Carpenter play the organ is a transcendant experience. It’s as if he’s “lit.” The organ just sits there, and Carpenter’s body exudes a powerful energy. Most of us, when we interact with digital technologies, “merge” our energies with the device, exhausting ourselves. Experienced musicians don’t do this. In the evolution of our relationship with digital devices, we have a lot to learn from experienced musicians.
For many of us, our evolving relationship with technology in a 24/7, mobile, always-connected world, traps us in a hyper-focus on the screen, and a blindness to the rich world around us.
Our relationships with our SmartPhones, and this wicked habit that many of us, of walking or driving while texting or talking, hold us in a state of perpetual inattentional blindness.
With a musical instrument, it’s awkward at first. All thumbs. Uncomfortable. Noise. With practice, musician becomes self-contained vs. consumed by the instrument; co-creating music. So it will be with personal technology. Now, a prosthetic of mind, it will become a prosthetic of being. A violinist with a violin. Us with our gadgets, embodied, attending as we choose.
Today, we are Knowledge Workers evolving into Understanding Workers. Understanding Workers use technology to anticipate, judge and act. Think about it. This is what we’re doing with FitBit, Quantified Self, 23andMe.com, Facebook, and so many other technologies of this era.
Personal technologies today are prosthetics for our minds. Our opportunity is to create personal technologies that are prosthetics for our beings. Conscious computing is post-productivity, post-communication era computing. Personal technologies that enhance our lives. Personal technologies that are prosthetics of our full human potential.
Intention happens in the present. Goals are about the future. Where does behavior change? In the present.
The challenge is, most of us, especially the brainy future thinking high tech types, tend to favor the inclinations of the mind. The mind, for many of us, is often tyrannical towards the body. “Just stay up 3 more hours. One more all-nighter. A Red Bull or two and I’ll meet this deadline! No walk until this paper is done…”
Distraction and procrastination come in a variety of flavors. I’ve noticed that when I’m “distracted,” and I walk over and stare out the window, it’s a very different experience than when I feed the distraction by cramming in a few emails or make a phone call. How often do you let your mind wander? AreContinue reading “When Distraction is Good”