Saturday, January 27, 2007

Preview: Linda Stone Hips HBR Readers to Continuous Partial Attention

Linda Stone, who is wise and savvy enough to have managed successful careers at both Apple and Microsoft, examines how our many channels of communication and our fear of missing out on something important messes with our minds. People who attend meetings while surfing and blogging on their laptops and answering email on their Blackberry's may be beyond parody, but they're all around us. Linda says too many of us live in a state of Continuous Partial Attention, that it's driving us to distraction. Literally. And that there are important opportunities in offering relief to a population drowning in it's own split focus. Linda offers a concise overview of Continuous Partial Attention in the upcoming Harvard Business Review. HBR ranks CPA as #7 in its breakthrough ideas of 2007.

Mickeleh's Take: The article is short enough to take in even if you're drowning in CPA yourself, but it's worth some focused time to digest and ponder. Linda suggests folks seek immersion in iPod as a refuge from CPA. Hmmm. If email, cell phones, and IMs are enticements to CPA, and the iPod is a relief, where does that put the iPhone? It's got 'em all. It may be an entire ecosystem of disease and cure. No wonder we're going crazy for it.

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Anonymous said...

Linda Stone's premise of the challenges of multitasking makes sense. Her attempt to re-label it as "continuous partial attention" is hogwash and publicity seeking.

Mickeleh said...

Linda sees a difference between multi-tasking (which is more about doing) and cpa (which is more about scanning for things that might be more useful, interesting, or important than what you're doing).

It its root, CPA is just bad manners (IMHO).

As for hogwash and publicity-seeking, I make my living dealing in hogwash and publicity-seeking. ("Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Anonymous said...

until the phrase 'cpa' was created, people considered the activities to be multitasking. my point is that linda seems to be striving to get a new phrase into our lexicon, like 'truthiness' or 'googling' and i don't think her phrase is that clever.

cogwac said...

and its acronym is already taken by a well-known profession which focuses on one thing... which is not to say that CPAs do not partake in CPA.

But, since you consider CPA just bad manners...
whenever anyone practices it we should say "tisk tisk tisk"... which, of course, would be called "multi-tisking".