Single Tasking Day

Today is Single Tasking Day. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to do just one thing at a time, without participating in the sham called multitasking.

single tasking day

Unlike computers, humans are not wired to work on many complex problems at once. Switching focus quickly from one thing to another can make us perceive that we’re managing multiple streams of information simultaneously, but each shift requires energy.

Our overall processing power becomes less efficient, even when dealing with things we do habitually—like scanning our phones, texting and going through emails—that don’t seem to require much attention but are, in fact, tying up the executive functions of our brains.

A study at Gresham College in London found that multitasking caused subjects’ problem-solving performance to drop by the equivalent of 10 IQ points. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller says our brains aren’t wired to multitask. “When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”

Per McGill University professor Daniel Levitin, “Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain.”

So feed your brain; just do it slowly so you don’t get a cramp. And have a happy Single Tasking Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

October 20 is Information Overload Day

information overloadToday is Information Overload Day. Why? Here’s a hint. In April 2016, Statista published a study regarding media usage. In it, the company reported that U.S. adults spent an average of just over twelve hours per day consuming media on their televisions, mobile phones, tablets and computer screens, among other sources—sometimes simultaneously.

In it, the statistics company reported that U.S. adults spent an average of just over twelve hours per day consuming media on televisions, mobile phones, tablets, computer screens and other sources—sometimes simultaneously. If reading that just raised your blood pressure, Information Overload Day may be the holiday for you.

The Information Overload Research Group (IORG) created Information Overload Day in 2007 to call attention to the constant fire hose of data that threatens to swamp individuals and organizations. In 2015, the IORG challenged the corporate world to “lower the overload” by sending twenty percent fewer messages each day.  It issued four helpful suggestions to help accomplish that:

1) Send only those Emails, IMs, and texts that have to be sent. This includes replies.
2) Only use reply-to-all when absolutely necessary.
3) Cut back on the number of recipients in the “to” and “cc” fields.
4) Resist the urge to forward Email messages if not critical.

Has your head exploded yet? How can anyone lower their emails by that much? Your boss expects you to copy him on everything but your bowel movements, and even that may be imminent. What about all those jokes you swap with friends and coworkers? Oh, yeah, there’s twenty percent right there.

The IORG may have given up on its own holiday; we see no sign of its observance since 2015. Maybe it’s taking its own advice by sparing us the extra data. In that spirit, we will bring this piece to a close—right after we wish you a happy Information Overload Day, that is!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 13 is National Blame Someone Else Day

national blame someone else dayToday is National Blame Someone Else Day, celebrated on the first Friday the 13th of the year. According to almost every source we checked, the holiday was invented by Anne Moeller of Clio, Michigan in 1982.

That fateful day, her alarm didn’t go off, so she was late for work. More bad luck ensued. When Anne realized it was Friday the 13th, she decided she should create a new holiday.

Did that happen? The tale has made the rounds of sites and news outlets; none of them cite a verifiable source. When a story is repeated a (shockingly low) number of times, it reaches a tipping point and attains the status of fact. This is often due to expediency and laziness passed off as the need to churn copy and the rationalization that no one cares if it’s true.

We assume that if you’ve taken the time to seek out information about a holiday, you would prefer the details to be true whenever possible. We do our best to plumb every wacky holiday for its funniest facts. If you’re out there, Anne Moeller, and that’s not how it all went down, we apologize and thank you for creating a day when we can blame someone else!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

February 29 is International Underlings Day

international underlings dayInternational Underlings Day was created in 1984 by Peter D. Morris to recognize those not honored by National Boss Day, Administrative Professional Day, Programmers’ Day, Professional Speakers Day, International Working Women’s Day—the list goes on.

Do you sometimes feel like work is a cosmic joke, that the ladder of success has a few broken rungs?

Do you know how everyone else likes their coffee, lunch and dry cleaning?

Have you ever delivered bagels to a roomful of executives going through trust exercises?

Have you ever felt paralyzed by fear as you watched a coworker get fired for making a paperclip chain? Did you then feel:

a) relief that it wasn’t you
b) shame for feeling relieved
c) resentment that you’re still stuck in your crappy job
d) despair when you imagine that person walking around outside, free?

Have you ever quit a job, confident you would never work in such an insane asylum again, only to end up in progressively more horrifying workplaces?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you might be an underling. Congratulations: you have a day. Unfortunately but perhaps fittingly, that day falls on February 29th, which occurs once every four years. That makes 2016 only the ninth celebration of this holiday.

Have a happy International Underlings Day. You deserve it. Just don’t expect cake.