Multitasking Virus In Our Classrooms

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I returned to the classroom of Dennis Dalton, the most important college professor of my life. From the back of an amphitheater seating several hundred students, I realized how much things had evolved at Columbia and Barnard. The lecture hall was now equipped with a wireless sound system, webcams, video projectors, wireless internet. Students were using computers to record the lecture and to take notes. Heads were buried in screens, the tap tap of hundreds of keyboards like rain on the roof.

On this afternoon, April 16, 2008, Dalton was describing the satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi, building the discussion around the Amritsar massacre in 1919, when British colonial soldiers opened fire on 10,000 unarmed Indian men, women and children trapped in Jallianwala Bagh Garden.

Cut Stress Out Before It Even Happens

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

You often see articles on ways to unwind and relax after a stressful day, which I always find useful, but for me the most important advice would be to get to the source of the problem, and cut stress out before it even happens. By careful editing of your life, and changing certain habits, you can eliminate most (not all) sources of stress in your life.

I don’t believe that a stress-free life is possible. Stress is a response to challenges in life, and a life without challenges is too boring to contemplate. However, I do believe that most of the stress in our lives is unnecessary, and that it can be eliminated by taking some simple (and some not-so-simple) steps. It can’t be accomplished overnight – I’ve been eliminating stressors in my life for awhile now, and I’m still not done. But I think it’s a worthwhile goal.

How to Become More Productive and Less Reactive

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

In today’s hectic world we often do not take the time to allow ourselves the luxury of quality time with ourselves, free from the cares and craziness of the daily circus that is our lives. It seems that, on the whole, we’ve all become phenomenal multitaskers, capable of amazing feats of juggling and endless readjustments to our schedules.

Five year olds take note! Your hyper-charged antics have absolutely nothing over a 21st century adult male or female anywhere in the world plugged into cyberspace via iPod or blackberry, amped up on various unholy mixtures of sucrose, caffeine and lactose, rocketing down a high-efficiency autobahn or freeway in an amazingly over-powered personal transportation vehicle, liberated from the office to go to yoga class, take in a movie, grab a bite to eat, shop for new cellular service and make it home in time to do a load or two of laundry and zone out in front of the TV.