Today I want to talk about the (un)famous multitasking and the myth that people can not multitask effectively.
We hear it every day.
Multitasking is evil!
It will destroy your efforts to get things done faster!
But I can guarantee you multitasked at some point in life.
I did it, too. And I STILL do.
(aaah… the blasphemy!)
So, did multitasking damage your (or mine) productivity?
Was it all that bad?
If done right, multitasking can be an effective way of getting (more) tasks done.
(and now go burn me at the stake for saying this!)
But, it’s the truth!
To a certain extent, of course.
Allow me to express my opinion.
What multitasking actually is?
In today’s world, a number of different items tend to fall under the same “multitasking” hat.
However, the truth is that most of those are falsely classified as such.
Therefore, before I go any further, please take a moment and allow me to clarify what multitasking really is.
You see, if you perceive multitasking the way most people do, you’ll realize there are not many jobs you could actually get done that way.
(if any, as a matter of fact)
You probably know what I mean by it.
I’m referring to those examples which are so common in the media nowadays.
Such as “replying to an email while at the meeting; talk over the phone while typing a letter” or similar “multitasking” examples.
Not to mention that everybody focuses on such examples and then comes to the conclusion that multitasking doesn’t work.
And the truth is, when it comes to better productivity, those examples really don’t work.
But it’s not due to multitasking, because…
Those are not examples of multitasking.
True multitasking is managing more than one task at the same time.
(with an emphasis on the “at the same time” part)
So, for example, when talking about writing a report and checking up on email, we’re NOT talking about multitasking.
This is the case of switching between the two tasks.
And, as you can see, there is a big difference between those two.
Am I being clear?
(I’ll assume you said “yes”)
Ok, let’s continue then. 😉What Multitasking Really Is And How You Can Successfully Pull It Off Click To Tweet
Is it possible to multitask effectively?
In pursuit of a successful multitasking experience, there’s another thing worth mentioning.
Multitasking WILL fail miserably if you try to use it for any of the tasks that deserve your focus and attention.
In such situations, don’t even bother to try…
(really… just don’t!)
By now you know what multitasking is not, and for which tasks it just doesn’t make sense.
But the question still remains – what are the events when multitasking can be applied and successfully pulled off?
And are there any?!
Why, yes, there is a way to effectively multitask.
(otherwise, this post wouldn’t be called that way 😀 )
But – when, where, how?
Here are some of my real-life examples to start with.
My real-life examples of multitasking and a formula to successfully multitask
When I went to high school, and later in college, my main way to multitask was to combine eating and reading.
Yes, I frequently used to bring the book with me to the table and read, while eating at the same time.
I didn’t plan to multitask, I just wanted to learn what I had to in a faster way, so I didn’t want to be separated from the book.
(geek! 😀 )
I do the same thing even now, just less frequent.
I like to combine eating with catching up on the news (if not working on a computer).
A number of times during the day, my multitasking consists of manually helping out one of my children, while answering the current burning question (which just can not wait for even a millisecond!) to the other (anyone out there sympathizes?).
Or, drinking coffee and checking up on social media, or taking a shower and brainstorming on some ideas…
(oh, dear! I didn’t even realize I’m such a multitasker until now! 😀 )
So, when I examined (my) multitasking events better, I came to a conclusion.
In my opinion – multitasking is the best to be used at home.
At home is always some no-brainer job (stirring a soup that you’re cooking, folding the laundry…) which could be combined with another focused-demanding task, and it could work well together.
Maybe that’s the reason why women are perceived as better at multitasking than men – they usually do more housework.
(at least in the earlier days, but even now there are still so many women around the world doing the housework without the help from their partners, but that’s another subject…)
To get back to the point.
When it comes to true multitasking, my recommendation is to choose the one task which could be done (in an almost) automatic way.
Usually, that task involves something which is done manually – and vision will also be a part of such a task.
(you’ll hardly get the manual work done if you’re not looking at what you’re doing, ya’ know? 😉 )
Which leaves the audio and the intellect free to tackle the other task.The Effective Way To Multitask - Yes, It Is Possible And Here Is A Recipe For It! Click To Tweet
Here are some more examples.
- You could do the dishes and listen to an
- go for a walk and use a voice recorder to note down some ideas for your next (or current) projects or goals,
- check up on the news while cooking,
- pick up a few words/phrases if learning a foreign language while cleaning your household,
- …or anything else that might come to your mind.
To sum things up – how to successfully multitask
- Task #1: no-brainer, includes the hands and the eyes (the hand-eye coordination);
- Task #2: mentally more demanding (though it doesn’t have to be), includes words (either listening or talking).
And I strongly believe that’s a good recipe for a successful multitasking experience! 🙂
What are your experiences when it comes to multitasking?
Do you even use it?
(come on… admit it! 😉 )
Leave a comment below, I’d really like to know!
Now I’m off to effectively multitask by dressing a 3-year-old and helping my 7-year-old with homework! (at least to give it a try) 😉