Rethinking Time

For most of us, there’s never enough time.  Despite what some fans of technology assert, technology does not increase the amount of time at our disposal.  It may free up time by helping us accomplish some mundane task faster, or eliminating the need to do it. Yet at the same time, each advance in technology also opens up all kinds of fascinating new options that compete for our attention and our time.

In fact, an argument might be made that because of its ability to offer options, technology uses up any time it frees up because we now spend more time considering options before we can take action.  Besides analysis paralysis, I often find myself striken with “technological paralysis”—too many options, plus I know whichever one I might eventually choose will be obsolete and old news in no time, so why bother?  Just skip it.

Today, I found this video by Jennifer Aaker, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business.  It was refreshing.  I especially like the contrast between multitasking and feeling fragmented versus her concept of multiplying which leads to a sense of wholeness and being present.  Her description of “multipliers”—activities that accomplish several goals at once—reminds me of what Charlotte Crabtree, one of my favorite UCLA professors, referred to as “powerful” lessons or teaching units.  She defined these as ones that accomplished multiple curricular goals or taught several different skills all the same time. I’ve held onto that concept and used it throughout my career, not just in teaching.

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