Interrupting Cow: Multitasking, Interruptions and Distractions

Dorling Kindersley RF

We all know the story. A stranger knocks at the door. The homeowner puts down the book he's reading, turns down the music playing in the den. Then he approaches the door and asks, "who's there?"

The stranger on the other side responds, "Interrupting Cow."

And the homeowner opens his mouth to inquire further -- but before he can, this barracking bovine cuts him off with an inhuman, cognitively-disrupting "Moooooo!"

Joke all you want, but the Interrupting Cow takes a real toll on your brain and your work life. So in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I examine just how interruptions and distractions impact our cognitive functions. What can we do to combat the interpreting cows in our life?


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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.