The Hazards of Multi-Switching

We can only love a limited number of things at a particular time

Words by Evelyn Chong

The last time I closed all tabs on my browser, I had 164. Imagine the constant fireworks that must have been firing between my neurons!

Now relate this to the last time you spent more than 30 minutes on Instagram watching one cat video after another, laughing at one meme after another, and unconsciously tapping through 32 stories of your favorite influencer talking about her new arm chair.

We unconsciously fall into all the various social rabbit holes—Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Tik Tok, Fleets, etc. Short bursts of entertainment that we switch to and from, consciously or unconsciously. The consumption of ephemeral content that we are hooked onto clearly crystallised into new habits and behaviors—challenging a lot of what we know, how we do things.

As much as we would like to argue that our work and private lives are more integrated that ever, we are at risk of a neural short circuit where we can no longer afford to play catch up. The constant fear of missing out makes us anxious, not conscious. Trying to balance our attention across social media is the same act we are reenacting at work, one way or another and at the expense of our happiness.

While it seems to be a thing of the past, happiness is now most often equated with a slower lifestyle, a calmer state of being, where we can completely switch off. Could the decline of our attention span finally be a wake-up call to the importance of a slower life?

Evelyn Chong

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