Sunday September 21, 2014

Mindful multitasking


(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Can contemplative practices like mindfulness meditation can help us manage our busy, multitasking lives? David M. Levy, a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and a long-time mediator, thinks so.

Levy researches how contemplation can offer us a more balanced relationship with our technologies. In a 2012 study, David and fellow researchers put together three groups of people: some who had been given mindfulness meditation training, some who had been given relaxation training, and a control group that had been given no training. They then exposed them to a realistic, multitasking environment, such as you might find in a busy workplace. The mindfulness group multitasked less, remembered more, and found the multitasking less stressful.

If you haven't studied mindfulness meditation, David Levy gave Spark host, Nora Young some simple tips for reining in multitasking and improving attention.

Levy finds that his students can learn to understand their own technology use better through mindfulness. He created and teaches a course called Information and Contemplation. By observing things like their physical and emotional states, students learn to be more conscious about their use of technology.

To learn more about David's research, listen to his interview with Spark's Nora Young. Click on the Listen button above.

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