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“Info-mania” – the modern phenomenon where people obsessively check their e-mails, phones and social networks – was a term coined by researchers in a study commissioned by Helwett-Packard investigating excessive technology usage. They wanted to answer one question – how detrimental is technological multitasking in the workplace?

In 2002, a Carleton University study found that marijuana usage dropped smokers’ IQ by 4 points. The HP study discovered that when distracted by phone calls and e-mails, the average worker’s functioning IQ dropped 10 points.

The company also stated that this drop is the equivalent of missing a whole night’s worth of sleep. On a side note, the drop was less significant in women than it was in men.

Consider these statistics from the same study:

62 percent of adults are e-mail or texting addicts
50% of the workers will respond to an e-mail immediately or within 60 minutes.
20% are happy to interrupt a business or social meeting to respond to an e-mail or telephone message

The behavior has social consequences, too. A majority of the interviewees perceived co-workers who checked their e-mails during meetings as “extremely rude.”

So what should you do – hit the magic dragon or hit up the inbox? Either way, your productivity will suffer, along with your company’s annual revenue.

If you’d like, consider watching this video extension of the book “Brain Rules” by John Media, who is a well-known critic of multi-tasking. The findings of  Helwett-Packard’s study are congruent with Medina’s viewpoint. This 120-second video humorously depicts what he calls “the myth of multitasking.”


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