Tools and distraction

20130922-075659.jpgDespite having at least four other devices with Kindle apps on them at any given moment at home or work, my reading weapon of choice is the Kindle Paperwhite.

I rip through books on it, lose myself in them fast and deeply. Two reasons: first, there is less pull from the web and apps; second, the little “time left in book” statistic in the bottom-left corner seems to help me focus. The effect of the latter is a little like using the Pomodoro technique - it gives a sense of manageable scale and progress through the text. There may also be that effect some drivers report of their satnav’s estimated time of arrival at a destination – the temptation to beat the computer’s prediction.

I thought about this after reading this passage in Clive Thompson’s excellent Smarter Than You Think:

For my money, there’s a far more immediate danger to the quality of our in-brain memory: that old op-ed page demon, distraction. If you want to internalize a piece of knowledge, you’ve got to linger over it. You can’t flit back and forth; you have to focus for a reasonable amount of time, with mental peace. But today’s digital environment rarely leaves you any such peace.

One comment

  1. Claude Vedovini

    “There may also be that effect some drivers report of their satnav’s estimated time of arrival at a destination – the temptation to beat the computer’s prediction.” – I wish someone explain to me how’s that possible?

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