David Levy speaks about Mindful Work and Technology and ways to bring contemplative practices into today's harried workplaces. According to Levy, new information technologies, including e-mail and the World Wide Web, have transformed the way people work, allowing them to collaborate over vast distances and to work at all hours of the day and night. But there is increasing evidence that the stress of working in these accelerated, information-saturated ways is taking a toll on workers, contributing to physical and psychological ailments as well as to a loss in attentiveness and time to think.
"There is growing scientific evidence that simple contemplative practices, including meditation and yoga, not only relieve stress but encourage states of greater attentiveness," said Levy. "It seems natural to explore how such practices might help us design workplaces and work technologies that support more healthful and productive forms of work."
Levy, a professor at the Information School of the University of Washington, holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in computer science and a diploma in calligraphy and bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute, London. He was a member of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where his research focused on the nature of documents and on the tools and practices through which they are created and used. His current research focuses on information and the quality of life.
While the latest information technologies have made it possible for us to communicate with one another and to
gain access to information more quickly than ever before, it is now clear that these powerful capabilities are
also contributing to information overload, to extreme busyness, to the fragmentation of attention, and to
accelerated and even frantic modes of working and living. One of the most unfortunate casualties of this trend
is the loss of time for reflection and contemplation—the loss of time to think.
Levy explore the extent of the problem and possible responses to it.
How does the lack of time to think affect you in your work?
How is it affecting your business, institution, or enterprise?
What do you see as potential larger or long-term consequences? To you? Your work? The larger society?
Are you, or is your business, institution, or enterprise aware of the situation?
What positive steps are you taking to ameliorate it?
What further steps might be taken, should be taken?
Participation in this debate ties in nicely with Jon kabat-Zinn and Mindfulness Meditation's positive affects on calming and quieting the mind.