The Myth of Multitasking

To do two things at once is to do neither. ~Publilius Syrus

As I read Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb, try syncing my ipod once again (still can’t figure out what’s wrong with it), and check my Email, I run across today’s quote (p. 186 in Digh’s book) and am reminded that I often say that multitasking is a myth. Splitting our attention among tasks likely means that we are not fully present for any of them. But even if we are, it means that our energy and time leaks away during the shifts in our attention.

Edward Hallowell, in his book, Crazy Busy, says, “It is fine to believe that multitasking is a skill necessary in the modern world, but to believe it is an equivalent substitute for single-minded focus on one task is incorrect. It may be convenient or necessary to multitask…however, you will not be doing any of these tasks as effectively as you would if you were doing them one at a time.” Hah–now I have Crazy Busy perched on top of Life is A Verb, and I am blogging in addition to the rest…how easy it is to practice this way of living!

I am putting down Crazy Busy. I am unplugging my ipod to troubleshoot another day. I am closing out my blog entry. Now, I will sit back in my reading chair and finish Life is a Verb like the good unitasker I aspire to be.

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5 Responses to The Myth of Multitasking

  1. Karen says:

    I agree. I try not to multitask-especially when it comes to others. Trying to stay in the present and visit/talk with them is more important (and often harder) than drifting away in my mind to things I need to do/think about.

  2. Bill says:

    multitasking: a synonym for chaos. (OK, this can be read as autobiography.)

  3. Mike says:

    I’ve mentioned to my boss several times that multi-tasking is not only ineffective in its intended purpose, but may actually be making some of us measurably more stupid.
    His first reply was “Not likely, better get used to it.” His second reply was “Did you have a question?”
    His third, “Ummm….What?”

  4. Lyn says:

    Hahaha! Just ran across this quote: Time is that quality of nature which keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn’t seem to be working.
    – Anonymous

  5. […] Basking in our lives instead of running in and from them–see also Moodling Day, August 2 and The Myth of Multitasking, October […]

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