Time to Think!

by DavalosMcCormack on February 2, 2010

I love getting the New York Times on Sundays and devouring it, curled up in my favorite chair sipping a cup of coffee!  It’s a luxury to me to be able to “really” read the paper and absorb the stories rather than just race through and grab information from the newspaper while getting ready to go to work.   Sundays, I use the time to discover “new” ideas, different opinions, cultural trends and business practices.  This Sunday, while reading one of my favorite features, “Corner Office” I discovered an important message.

NYTimes reporter, Adam Bryant interviewed Cristobal Conde, the president of SunGard (a software technology company) Mr. Conde is an IT kind of guy and his company is built on how to make technology available to financial, higher education, and government agencies.  Now you would think Mr. Conde is a techie freak but he isn’t.  In fact, the lessons he learned as CEO of his company it all about relationships and thinking.  Mr. Conde says he tries to take 1 1/2 hours everyday just to close his office door and think.  My first thought when reading that was, “Wow, an hour and a half? Where does he find the time?”  Think about it, or do you have the time?

Mr. Conde “makes” the time.  He believes it is so important for his company’s future that he takes time to consider, contemplate, goof off in his mind.  It doesn’t matter what he thinks about but it is important to take the time.  Mr. Conde says, “Sometimes it gets cut short.  But many topics or issues can only be dealt with in an uninterrupted format.  I worry about our entry-level people- they’re bombarded with information, and they never get to think”.

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Well friends, guess what, there is a study out about that!   Yes, Stanford researchers have found that people who are multitaskers, and by that I mean even folks who are instant messaging, writing a report, and listening to music or taking phone calls do not pay attention, control their memory, and are easily distracted from any focus on the array of tasks before them.  The study was published in the Aug 24 edition  of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Their findings show that multitasking actually impairs the organizing mechanisms in your brain.

100 Students in the study were put though a series of three tests,  half were self confessed heavy multitaskers and the others were low multitaskers.  After the tests the researcher found that the high taskers were constantly distracted by irrelevant information because they just couldn’t ignore it.  Follow up studies showed that high multitaskers had a low performance in  memory  and organizing information.  They just couldn’t filter out the irrelevant information. Plus, they didn’t take in enough information to contemplate with any depth of knowledge.

So there you have it, take it from a high tech guy like Cristobal Conde, if you really want to get ahead, take time to think, one thought at a time.  Still, how the heck does he find an hour and a half?  Maybe he’s lifting weights, or would that be multitasking?  How many tasks makes multi.  Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that.

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