Human, Interrupted


How many times have you been distracted since you started reading this email? My writer’s ego wants to believe the answer to that question is zero but the distracted multitasker in me knows that’s probably a pipe dream. (It’s alright, I still like you.)

“One interesting aspect of this penchant for combining tasks is that we seem to have lost the ability to single task,” Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen write in The Distracted Mind. “Glance around a restaurant, look at people walking on a city street, pay attention to people waiting in line for a movie or the theater, and you will see busily tapping fingers. We act as though we are no longer interested in or able to stay idle and simply do nothing. We appear to care more about the people who are available through our devices than those who are right in front of our faces. And perhaps more critically, we appear to have lost the ability to simply be alone with our thoughts.

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. If you’d like for it to land in your inbox first thing on Tuesday mornings, subscribe here.

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