Pay Attention!

If you’re tired of “Blackberry Zombies” walking around your office with their heads buried in their smart phones, then you’re not alone.  An iPhone, Blackberry, or other personal organizer can be a great tool, but I’m finding too many people living in bondage – who feel compelled to check their e-mail every five minutes.  (Exactly what is that incredibly important message you’re looking for?)   I’ve blogged before about a survey that revealed constantly checking and re-checking your e-mail lowers your IQ as much as smoking grass.  Enough said. It’s called “continuous partial attention.”  Our meetings are filled with people with both hands under the conference table checking e-mail, or conference audiences with laptops humming.  Organizational expert Julie Morgenstern has already pointed out the significant drop in productivity with multitasking, and I can confirm that in my own life.  But my biggest concern is more about our growing distance. It’s actually become acceptable to carry on conversations with people who are also simultaneously checking the web, downloading e-mail or communicating through IM. People in cubicles next to each other would rather send an e-mail than reach over the wall and say “hi.”

We’re simply losing connections with each other…. is there an answer, or is this the future?

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Phil Cooke, Ph.D, is a filmmaker, media consultant, and founder of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California. His latest book is “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking." Find out more at philcooke.com.