Overwhelmed by Data

By
Real Estate Agent with Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894

Information OverloadI was listening to the radio yesterday, and happened upon a discussion between Terry Gross of NPR and Matt Richtel of the New York Times. He wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning series for the Times, called "Driven to Distraction" where he delved into mullti-tasking behind the wheel.  Fascinating stuff.

The main thrust of this discussion yesterday was how, as a society, we are all constantly connected, and therefore overwhelmed by data.  He compared it to those old experiments done with lab rats, where a rat would press a bar and presto, out would come food. The rat quickly learned to press the bar.  When the experiment changed to intermittent reinforcement (i.e., sometimes you press the bar and get food, sometimes you don't), the rat would constantly press the bar to see if they were gonna get lucky.  E-mail kind of works like that for humans.  You check it all the time.  Sometimes you get something you like, sometimes you don't.  God forbid you don't have access to it.  

And why do we check our e-mail so often?  Because we get a little rush from it... thus, it becomes a bit of an addiction. Without it you feel bored.  I know I'm slightly addicted to Active Rain.  I bet a bunch of you are, too. Thank goodness there is something to be gained by paying attention to AR- sure beats my Scrabble addiction (which brings me occasional triumph, but mostly just frustration).

It used to be when you wanted to procrastinate, you would wander into the t.v. room (remember when most houses had one t.v.?) and watch something.  Now, just about all of us have a t.v. in our pocket.  There are endless opportunities to procrastinate, and so our days become filled with (often) useless distractions.  It fills the time, but it doesn't make the best use of it.  I know I'm always feeling a little harried by the end of the day, and a lot of the time I have regrettably little to show for it.  

The truth is, when we're connected to a screen, our attention shifts.  Can't tell you how many times my kids have had ice cream in the middle of the day because I'm distracted by what's on the screen in front of me.  I'm now wising up to the trick, but the truth is I'm not so good at focusing on two things at once.  Not many people are, hence, the article above. I know I need to work on being more connected to this world and less connected to my little (or not so little) screens.  

In the not too distant past, when you sat down in front of a computer it was to do some real work.  Today, thanks to all of the games, e-mails, web sites, blogs, weather reports, shopping, etc., computers no longer = productivity. I haven't worked in a "real" office for 15 years, but it's no wonder my last employer didn't want us communicating via e-mail with the outside world. We were limited to internal messaging only.  I think they were on to something.  

I'm relatively new to blogging.  I like it, and feel that it benefits my clients, particularly when I need to share detailed information with them about the intricacies of real estate.  Facebook and Twitter... let's just say I've signed up, but haven't exactly embraced them.  Despite all of the hype to connect on these forums, I'm not entirely convinced I want to spend what little is left of my precious time cultivating an audience in these worlds. Even though I'm an admitted slave to my e-mail, I get far too many of them to truly enjoy it. And I'm pretty sure my friends and clients don't want to hear from me when I'm having an open house via Facebook & Twitter updates. Chances are, if it was of interest, I would have called or e-mailed them ahead of time... especially if I felt it was important.  

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on this.  Where do you draw the line?  

 

Posted by

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Marcie Sandalow is a realtor with Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. in Chevy Chase, DC.   
With 15+ years in the business, and a sharp understanding of her client's needs, she serves Buyers and Sellers
in and around Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Washington, DC, Kensington, Rockville, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. 

E-mail:  marcie@bccdcrealestate.com
Cell:  301/758-4894

Website:  BCCDCRealEstate.com and DCHouseSmarts.com

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Rainmaker
1,817,354
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

marcie, i too am new to blogging & spend a bit of time on it in the last 5 months but it has brought me 2 (waiting on the 2nd) commission checks so the payoff is evident.  The rest i'm not sure 'cause as you say you have x amount of time & most of my clients want to hear my voice or see me.  I'm trying to take a day when i don't connect to anything in order to breathe...do you?

Aug 26, 2010 12:12 AM #1
Rainer
207,994
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

Ginny-  this same reporter said that it takes an average of 3 days to "disconnect" from our screens when we're on vacation (where there is no internet).  I don't make the time to disconnect often enough.  I'm thinking it's time to do more.  It might make me more productive!?

Aug 26, 2010 12:58 AM #2
Rainer
232,410
Marcia Hawken
WILLIAM RAVEIS - Naples, FL
Naples Luxury Specialist

Anytime we go to dinner I leave my phone at home.  Unless I am in a contract.  I hate it when people are looking at their screens and not engaging face to face.  The rest of the time...well, I am as bad as everyone else. 

Aug 27, 2010 01:01 AM #3
Rainer
207,994
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

 

Marcia-  I think we are all challenged by our electronics.  Guilty as charged.  I like your dinner ban.  

Aug 27, 2010 08:17 AM #5
Rainmaker
180,011
Catarina Bannier
Compass - Chevy Chase, DC
DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way

I'm the biggest sucker for all those awesome "productivity" gadgets.  And while they're such fun, few of them have made us more efficient.  (The GPS or the MLS on your phone are the only serious exceptions I can see when it comes to the job.)  To have a zillion newspapers, magazines and streaming TV stations, not to mention the thousands of free games, in your pocket at all times is a situation that comes straight from the devil.

Aug 31, 2010 08:13 AM #6
Rainer
207,994
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

Cati- I don't know why I didn't see your comment before, but now that I do, it totally makes me smile.  Straight from the devil, indeed!   ;-)

Sep 15, 2010 03:51 PM #7
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Rainer
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Marcie Sandalow

Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate
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