For the past month or so, I’ve been venting to anyone and everyone who will listen about the fallacy that multi-tasking is a good and useful skill. Not only do I think that multi-tasking is ineffective, I strongly doubt that it is even possible.
It turns out that MIT agrees with me.
True multi-tasking should best be described, in Shannah’s world, as being able to juggle multiple deadlines and responsibilities. It isn’t working on several things at the same time. As my husband says, “Yes, I can multi-task. But why would you want me to?”
Honestly, I can get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time if I tackle one thing at a time with focused intensity.
When I try to talk on the phone and answer email, something suffers. My phone conversation is marked by gaps of total silence. Or I read back through my email responses and wonder what on earth I was really trying to say. Making a to-do list in my head while driving? Forget about it. (That’s precisely what happens to things on my list!) When I try to read the paper and listen to my husband…well, you can guess what happens.
So here it is Friday morning. My office white board is covered with urgent tasks, many with the same deadline. Today I’m tackling them one at a time, with focused intensity. I bet I’ll get more done today than I did last week when we were all a bunch of headless chickens.
Thanks, MIT. It’s good to know that I’m not a complete looney!