Monday, August 28, 2006

One Thing at a Time

You talking to me?

Uh-oh. Someone’s multitasking

Multitasking. Everyone has been doing in some sort of a multitasking, motor-sensory, mechanical, keep this moving, aren’t I good, hamster-on-wheel mental machine event. It is like the tacit multitasking Olympics of life.

I imagine it as something like ropin' cow at a rodeo. Ride after him, lasso his back legs, jump down, and loop that rope around, and throw your hands in the air all with in ten seconds flat.

HA! But that that rodeo guy has it easy. He’s really only doing one task. No wonder he can do it so well.

Get him to try to do that while he is working on a project, answering email, and getting interrupted every 7 minutes when a commercial comes on TV. I used to think that I was good enough to do it. Now I know I was crazy, cranky, and causing more problems than ever I fixed.

I’ve quit doing it. I’m calmer, kinder, caring more about what I do.

Life was running so smoothly until . . .

He’s started multitasking.
−me strauss Letting me be


dsnake1 said...

ah, multitasking. seems like a trend in the workplace nowadays. somedays, i will be talking to a customer on the phone, answering a colleague's query, printing out an order and looking at my email, all at the same time. it's crazy. i wish the world can slow down a bit.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Dsake.
They call it continual partial attention and the latest research says that multitasking doesn't work. It make us less productive, less efficient, and more stressed.

I know that when I quit a few months ago, my work improved greatly. I was also immediately in a better mood all day long.

It took nothing for me to break the habit. It's as if my body and soul were just waiting for me to wake up to reality.

dsnake1 said...

Just as I thought so too. How can we stay focused if we are doing so many things at one time? Guess I can't get away from it for a while. Fewer staff, increased workload, and the bosses believe in multitasking. Sorry if I seem to be ranting in your blog. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hey, Dsnake,
Telling me stuff isn't rantin. No worries. I call myself a serial multitasker when I want to confuse the issue. I say I do many thing all in a row. :)

Chris Cree said...

Get that cowboy to start herding cats and then he'll be multi-tasking.

When I was in flight school, the Navy taught that there was no such thing as true multi-tasking. We were taught to do little snippets of tasks in sequence, which had the effect of multi-tasking. The trick is to keep your focus on the particular task at hand that particular moment!

15+ years later I'm still practicing!

ME Strauss said...

Ah Chris!
You're giving away my secret. That's what I do when I'm pushed to mutlitask now. I pretend in that very way.

Herding cats . . . right after he finishes his lates computer project.

Janus Torrell said...

I am horrible at multitasking, everytime I try it I get distracted then I get nothing done. Better for me to do one thing all the way through than 5 things that end up never getting done

ME Strauss said...

Hi Janus,
I know about that. I often end up in the middle of a pile of visual clutter. The more clutter the more frustrated I beocme. Soon I can work until I clean it all up. :)

Kharen said...

Sorry, I am a serial multi-tasker. Is that a crime?? Hehehe.

I agree that when you focus on one task, it does get done quicker and with better results. However, I don't always have the luxury to do it one-at-a-time. Especially when doing housework, I have a detailed multi-tasking plan.
E.g load the washing, chop the vegies & start simmering the broth, watch the news, read a mag when the ads are on .. So really Im washing, cooking, watching the news and reading a magazine in one go.

I enjoy it! Specially, when it all goes to plan. When multi-tasking works, it's a beauty ;)

Sorry for being the devil's advocate here. Makes for exciting conversation.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Kharen,
But are you really multitasking? The key to really doing good work is to look like you're multitasking -- doing many things at once, but actually at any given moment concentrate only on what you're doing. What's wrong with real multitasking is what they call continuous partial attention, where folks try to pay attention to inputs constant coming from too many directions so much they cannot focus on doing a good job on any one.

I guessing you don't do that. :)