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Give digital aids a needed rest

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in Workplace Communication

As Dianne listens to her iPod, she taps out an e-mail on her iPhone and watches the TV screen—all while walking briskly on a treadmill.

Multitasking is part of our daily lives, keeping us productive every micromoment of the day. We text and e-mail while we stand in line, wait at a red light or cross the street.

The downside: Scientists say when our brains are forever busy with digital input, we miss the chance to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.

“People think they’re refreshing themselves, but they’re fatiguing themselves,” says Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.

Dianne might be clearer-headed if she went for a run without gadgets.

It may be difficult to give up music or videos entirely during exercise, but try taking this challenge: Instead of filling micromoments by checking e-mail, watching videos and texting, allow your brain to experience a lull. Those “boring” moments feed your mind.

—Adapted from "Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime," Matt Richtel, The New York Times.

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