Ah, multitasking. It is rumoured that only women can do it, but men claim they can as well. I tend to think I can do it … and I was proud of myself too. But then I came across more and more articles that questioned the value and the very notion of multitasking.
We’re not computers, so conscious real multitasking doesn’t make sense indeed (unconsciously, we can all multitask, otherwise it’d be difficult for us to think and breathe while walking for example). Conscious multitasking will always be very fast switching from one task to the other, so you may be able to write mails, chat online and hold a phone conversation all at the same time, but a good chance is that for most people, the phone conversation will be limited to “uhuh” when they’re typing away on that mail… and that’s not good.
Fastcompany recently featured an article, telling us to STOP multitasking. The author talked about the downside of multitasking he discovered, claiming that with all that multitasking, we loose “thoughtfulness”, the ability to really focus on a single conversation, think about something deeply, rather than have the mind wandering off and thinking of the next thing to do. Workingsmarter takes a comparable angle in this article asking us to be more in the moment, because when you multitask too much, you loose the ability to be in the moment, to block out all the rest and concentrate on a single task or person. At Slackermanager they call it the art of tuning in.
So let’s give it a try. Take some time out. Think. Focus. Tune in. Be in the moment. And let me know if it works.
If you’re a follower of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, try adding that time to your weekly review … or just take a walk.