5 comments on “Is there any such thing as too productive?

  1. Playing off your idea here of multi-tasking in classes, this is something I don’t think the graduate climate really allows for. Most of our classes have about ten people in them, and it’s very easy to tell if someone isn’t paying attention, is working on something for another class, or hasn’t read. I think this help fosters active participation and learning, as people start to get self-conscious of the other activities they may be doing during class and redirect themselves back to the conversation. Ideally, it would be nice if technologies weren’t even allowed in these small seminars, but, as a graduate student I believe we have a professional and academic responsibility to fight off these temptations and only use our computer or ipads to pull up notes or readings during class. We chose to continue our educations at the graduate level; presumably this means we should be interested enough in the material to make it 3 hours in a class.

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  2. I agree with you that we think we are good at multitasking (when using various gadgets) but really thats not always the case. I think at the graduate level we are a lot more aware of this (as we don’t have a choice-haha) but honestly, almost weekly I hear from some of my undergraduate students who state that it is so much easier to procrastinate when trying to get stuff accomplished due to all the distractions (phone, social media- and primarily the ease at which they can access them). Most people learn it the hard way that not being self disciplined and what they think is multitasking is hurting them. So one of the things that I intentionally ask my students is to monitor how many hours a day they are on their gadgets, if it is more than the number of hours they sleep for (each day)…Thats a problem and it’s time to start thinking about what needs to change.

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  3. I like the way you shared your experience.I will try to give you a different perspective. When you are writing the paper and not looking at your phone, that means you are balancing your life. You can again engage with your phone after you are done with your writing. So actually you are multitasking in a balanced way, which I think is necessary for any undergraduate/graduate students. With so many distraction around us and thinking about the benefit these technologies provide us, we might have to think about balancing its use in an efficient way. Another way of thinking about your experience can be, if you are bored with writing for many hours at a stretch, technology can help you take a break and distract you for a good reason (to again start writing with a fresh mind). I just shared my perspective. Hope you do not mind.

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  4. I think you touch on a lot of great points about multitasking and being productive. I think multitasking and having these constant connections with the Internet can be really difficult waters to navigate and get through especially in graduate school. Sometimes it takes the hard lesson, but I think sometimes it takes more of expectation check. I try to only multitask when I’m grading and logging in vouchers for my class or doing what is “busy work.” However, I find myself having very unrealistic expectation for when it comes to papers and reading. For some reason, I think I can sit in read all the article for one class in one sitting or I can write a paper without needing a few minutes to step away. I don’t always think about needed ten minutes to step away. In undergrad, I was really good about studying around my attention span. I would study for an hour and then take a fifteen minute break, but I don’t really do that in grad school. I have this “idealized attention span.” I think I can keep going the same way I did without factoring in all the changes that happened in graduate school. We talk about becoming distracted but what is the difference between having an actual focusing problem and just reaching our attention span limits? Maybe we become too productive when we ignore our body’s way of saying take a break.

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  5. We all know the value of google scholar so we can’t say technology is bad. It is good if used properly. However, there are also many pitfalls like you mentioned and as graduate students, we are expected to know this…or we will come to know this to be successful students. That being said, I will agree that many people’s attention spans are quite shorter than it should be. Is it because of technology or are people just bored? I remember my first year chemistry class having to listen to the Professor go on and on for 3 hours. I don’t like chemistry so that would have been a good time to be distracted. So really, it may be that people are try to be too many things at the same time(thanks to technology) but not interested enough to not be distracted.

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