Dave Caolo writes today at The Unofficial Apple Weblog about how, with all the emphasis and hype and interest in multitasking, one of the coolest things he likes about it after using it for a few weeks is that it does just one thing at a time.
It’s amazing how eagerly we invite distraction upon ourselves. Consider how frequently we do two (or more) things at once. While an app launches, I check Twitter. As a Web page loads, I Command-Tab over to Mail. All the while, iTunes plays music, and I’m thinking about what else must be done today.
I became keenly aware of how infrequently I focus on one single thing when I started using my iPad. For the most part (yes, you can play music in the background), it does one thing at a time. In fact, when I’m using an app on the iPad, it becomes that app.
WeatherBug makes it a weather station. Launch Twitterrific and your iPad becomes Twitter. The New York Times turns my iPad, for all intents and purposes, into an (abridged) issue of that newspaper. There’s no beep, chirp or other electronic fidget to lure me away from simply reading a story.
Having owned an iPad now for a little over a month, I’ve found he’s right.
Over the last month, I haven’t stayed caught up on the different Google Reader RSS articles I’ve wanted to read. Like Mr. Caolo, I’m definitely an information addict. I found a very-well-reviewed new Google Reader app yesterday (also on TUAW, ironically) called Reeder, available both in iPhone and iPad flavors. Through most of yesterday evening, I just zipped through all of the back articles I wanted to check on, getting back down to zero, and the unitasking environment of the iPad helped get me through it without being distracted by Twitter, Facebook and other web pages — my iPad wasn’t any of those things at that point in time; it was just a feed reader.
Open for comment: how do you handle distractions when you’re working online?