Multitasking is an Illusion

Multi-Colored Flowers by Laura
Multi-Colored Flowers by Laura
















One thing that people constantly comment about me is that I am a master multitasker.  In reality, I do not multitask.  I’m a lousy multitasker.  In reality, multitasking is an illusion for most humans.

There are perhaps a few people on the face of this earth that are capable of multitasking, but in general, the species is not really wired to do multiple things at the same time.  Think about it.  If you’re concentrating on something, and then have to break your concentration to work on something else, you are having to do what is known to computer geeks as a context switch.  You have to spend time thinking about what you are about to do, figure out where you were last, then start working.  If you need to switch tasks, you have to put it away, and then pick up the next task. If you spend enough time switching between tasks, you can literally context switch yourself into oblivion.  Thus I say multitasking is an illusion.

So, how do I do it?  If i”m not really multitasking, then what in the world AM I doing?  I think of it more as breaking tasks down into simple, small pieces.  Each of those pieces can easily be done in a short amount of time.  When I have a task that doesn’t readily break down, I make a point of shutting my door, and concentrating only on that task, so that I can get it out of the way, before I have to switch contexts too many times.

I encourage people to look at what they’re doing, and focus on HOW they’re doing those things.

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