“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once,
but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” Lord Chesterfield, 1740
I think multitasking should be a 4-letter word, and eliminated from our vocabulary and our behaviour. Never in history has so much admiration been heaped upon those who can (supposedly) do ten things at once, and brag about it to boot!
There is no gold star for multitasking. Research shows that multitasking is a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously”. (Dr. Edward Hallowell)
The brain is capable of holding only one thought at a time. We become less efficient and far less effective when we try to do multiple things all at the same time. Just like the phrase, “When you try to please everyone, no one is pleased”, so too “When you try to do everything all at once, nothing is accomplished well.”
Here’s what I think:
We should strive to sequentially unitask. Devote full attention to one thing, then quickly and efficiently move to the next…and the next…and the next. When full attention is paid to something, as it so deserves, then the chances of it getting completed is so much higher than when all the balls are in the air. We’re healthier, more engaged, more productive and more enjoyable to be around when we devote full attention to a task, and even more importantly, our full attention to people.
What do you think? Are you a multitasker, or an effective, efficient sequential unitasker?
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