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Surprising Science

Feeling Unfocused at Work? Try Adding Extra Screens.

Incorporating different devices for various tasks can help boost your productivity and focus.

What’s the Latest?

Ever wonder who thought up the brilliant idea to put the internet on the same machine as your word processor? If you have, it was probably due to an inability to focus on a single task with so many varying bits of responsibility (or temptation) calling your name. Clive Thompson over at WIRED has a post up today describing a basic solution to this problem: diversify your workflow between multiple screens. If you incorporate additional devices into your routine and designate each of them for a separate task, you can boost your level of focus on each individual necessity.

What’s the Big Idea?

Thompson tells how several people who lead very tech-heavy lives balance their tasks between devices:
Paul Bridger, a startup founder based in Europe, says he uses social apps like Twitter only on his iPad Mini so he won’t be seduced by them on his laptop. For Doug Belshaw, a web-literacy lead for Mozilla, it’s about making multiple tasks quickly glanceable. He puts to-do apps on a tablet that he keeps next to his desk like a physical calendar. “Ideally, I’d have a separate device for every activity,” he says.

That last sentence is really quite interesting. Part of the appeal of modern devices is that they consolidate all our tasks onto one screen (remember this?). Yet too much saturation on one device has shown to be detrimental to productivity. Research has shown that it’s easier to focus on pieces of paper laid out on a table instead of stacked on top of each other. Thompson seems to believe this is the same idea around multiple screens. 

Keep Reading at WIRED

Photo credit: jannoon028 / Shutterstock


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