I know when I say you “need” to read this book most say “I do not have the time”. 🙂 I recently read “The One Thing”. Well worth the time. There is a chapter on “multitasking”. I have been railing on this for years and saying it is a failed experiment. Keller defines it as Monkey Mind…..
The concept of humans doing more than one thing at a time has been studied by psychologists since the 1920’s, but the term multitasking didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1960’s. It was used to describe computers, not people. Back then, ten megahertz was apparently so mind-bogglingly fast that a whole new word was needed to describe a computer’s ability to quickly perform many tasks. In retrospect, they probably made a poor choice, for the expression “multitasking” is inherently deceptive. Multitasking is about multiple tasks alternatively sharing one resource (the CPU), but in time the context was flipped and it became interpreted to mean multiple tasks being done simultaneously by one resource (a person). It was clever turn of phrase that’s misleading, for even computers can process only one piece of code at a time. When they “multitask”, they switch back and forth, alternating their attention until both tasks are done. The speed with which computers tackle multiple feeds the illusion that everything happens at the same time, so comparing computers to humans can be confusing.
People can actually do two or more things at once, such as walk and talk, or chew gum and read a map; but, like computers, what we can’t do is focus on two things at once. Our attention bounces back and forth. This is fine for computers, but it has serious repercussions in humans.
When you switch from one task to another, voluntarily or not, two things happen. The first is nearly instantaneous: you decide to switch. The second is less predictable; you have to activate the “rules” for whatever you’re about to do. Switching between two simple tasks – like watching television and folding clothes – is quick and relatively painless. However, if you’re working on a spreadsheet and a co-worker pops into your office to discuss a business problem, the relative complexity of those tasks makes it impossible to easily jump back and forth. It always takes some time to start a new task and restart the one you quit, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever pick up exactly where you left off. There is a price for this. “The cost in terms of extra time from having to task switch depends on how complex or simple the tasks are,” reports researcher Dr. David Meyer. “It can range from time increases of 25 percent or less for simple tasks to well over 100 percent or more for very complicated tasks.”
Media multitaskers actually experience a thrill with switching—a burst of dopamine—that can be addictive. Without it, they can feel bored. For whatever the reason, the results are unambiguous: multitasking slows us down and makes us slower witted.
So in summary use some time blocking and get peak performance.
Time blocking harnesses your energy and centers it on your most important work. Its productivity’s greatest power tool.
Most people think there’s never enough time to be successful, but there is when you block it.
Have a resilient week!