The task of Multitasking

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

You are on your way to work while driving in traffic you are answering an e-mail on your work phone, speaking with the day care on your personal cell phone, in your head you are developing a check list for things you need to do before the Monday morning meeting, as soon as the day care hangs up you jump into a conversation with a family member about some serious family affair. This scene is played out Monday mornings all over the world.

We multitask and feel accomplished because we have finished in the time it takes to do one task many tasks,however one has to wonder about things like quality of the tasks we complete while multitasking. Did we schedule the right time for the day care appointment? We are not sure so at lunch we call back the day care. The e-mail we sent was vague and non – descript, and now we are dragged into a conversation via e-mail, which takes three days to explain, which may not have taken quite as long with a more proper initial e-mail. Then there is the phone call with the family member, about some type of family affair that is going on, in their moment of need did we truly employ the appropriate empathy required and lend to them a receptive ear and “shoulder to cry on”? Or did we treat them like the e-mail that we rushed through? And not to mention the fact that all of this was done while driving in traffic, driving is an action that requires a cognitive full brain approach, despite the feeling that driving can be second nature it is not, there are far to many variables involved with driving to ever make it become second nature. It is good practice to never ever text or answer e-mail while driving. As a matter of fact I am inclined to believe the “older” regime in the office who state that “there is no such thing as multitasking. It is merely doing many things poorly”.

So since there is no syuch thing as multitasking what are we to do? First things first take a deep breath, now prioritize. Some people are list people, they write themselves lists others don’t and still prioritize. The best approach to tasks is to complete as much of a task as you can before moving on to another task. I like to assume that if I do not finish my task after I start than it will never get finished. So what do I do about tasks that I know will take weeks, months or even years? Well I break them done into smaller tasks that I can finish in one session or bites. I call them bites because of an old saying about how one goes about eating an elephant. One bite at a time of course. You will finish long-term tasks one bite at a time.


At home and at work everyday we should all make an effort to abandon multitasking and cling to a “task completion” path and the difference we will see in happiness and production will me remarkable. If nothing else abandoning multitasking will make the roads safer.




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