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How Always Being Busy Makes You Dumber

In a world where time is a precious commodity, optimizing your initiatives can be a driver of wealth and prosperity. Consider this: Rake, take, and cake: if these words were to flash across a screen at 1/30th of a second, which would you be able to catch? What if you were very, very hungry?

Probably cake. As Cass Sunstein reports at the New York Review of Books, this was an actual experiment:  All of the subjects arrived three hours before the test—some ate, some didn't. When they took the word-scanning test, hungry subjects did great at finding food-related words.

What’s at work here is scarcity—perceiving that you don’t have enough of something affects our thinking in a major way. That famished feeling produces a "cognitive tunnel" limiting what we’re able to see. The same applies for time. All insanely busy people can think about is the short-term, which leads to poor decisions like counterproductive multitasking and neglecting long-term goals. Read entire article here>

Feb 25, 2014 / Research