The NYTimes Backs Me Up on Multitasking

October 24th, 2008

On the heels of my last post comes this article in the New York Times on how hard it is to effectively multitask.

Shortcuts – Multitasking Can Make You Lose … Um … Focus – NYTimes.com

My favorite line describes the infamous “email voice”, when it is clear that the person on the other end of the phone line is actually focusing on his/her email.

Based on my own experience, the article is also dead-on when it says multitasking actually adds low levels of panic and stress.  I certainly feel much more in control when I slow down and try to do only one thing at a time.

Now what was I doing before that article caught my attention?

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  • I couldn't agree more with the concept of multitasking as, essentially, a time waster. Basically, on the rare occasions when I *try* to multitask (i.e. – when I'm forced into it), I will focus about 40% of my attention on two individual tasks each (for example), for a total attention level of 80%. When I focus on ONE item at a time, I give it my 100% attention. The extra 20% of attention that's lost in the multitasking scenario floats into the ether somewhere, where I hope to find it one day and apply it to my laser-focused “singletasking.” Anyone who thinks they can effectively multitask is probably just fooling themselves.

  • I couldn't agree more with the concept of multitasking as, essentially, a time waster. Basically, on the rare occasions when I *try* to multitask (i.e. – when I'm forced into it), I will focus about 40% of my attention on two individual tasks each (for example), for a total attention level of 80%. When I focus on ONE item at a time, I give it my 100% attention. The extra 20% of attention that's lost in the multitasking scenario floats into the ether somewhere, where I hope to find it one day and apply it to my laser-focused “singletasking.” Anyone who thinks they can effectively multitask is probably just fooling themselves.