Myth Around Multitasking

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Myth Around Multitasking

 

The subject of multitasking came about this morning in our Yoga Teacher Training Session and it urged me to write about my own personal learning and experience with multitasking.

Human Multitasking is derived from “Computer Multitasking” where the processes are actually done in an entirely different manner than the human world. Either the tasks are done through time sharing and rotations where only one task is done at any given point in time in the case of single core microprocessors or tasks are done simultaneously in multi-core computers.

When it comes to the human brain though, although the human brain can perform perceptual and motor functions effectively at the same time with training, it is extremely difficult to learn new information effectively while the brain is involved in performing another task. This is because the brain cannot effectively switch from start to finish of one task with another like the computer. How effective multitasking will be,  depends on the tasks being performed at the same time.

We live in the modern world, where everyone is in a hurry. There is a lack of patience. We want to “save” time, and yet in reality we end up wasting time!

Here is a example from my own experience:
During my work in the corporate world, I was constantly in phone meetings. This did not mean that my own work load was any less, which also meant that there was constant juggling of tasks involved in any given work day. As many can relate to this, I was often “performing” my own tasks on the computer while attending the meetings where I was also actively participating! Looking back I can say that I was not 100% focused on the meeting or the task at hand. The result was time wasted in resolving errors as well as important information that I did not catch during the meeting!

Another example on the home front is when I put something on the stove for cooking and decided to split time doing laundry, or talking on the phone or something else! The result was either burned food or burned skin!!

The conclusion is that we should plan to multi-task in such a way that precious time does not get wasted in the hurry of accomplishing 2 tasks at the same time with error in both tasks!

For example, if we do want to cook and laundry at the same time, it can be accomplished through proper sequencing of tasks. We can put clothes in the washing machine, which when completed will shut down when the cycle is complete on its own, and immediately proceed to cooking. If we know that the cooking is at a low temperature for at least 10 minutes, then we can proceed to transfer the clothes to the dryer and go back to cooking! This simply means an effective sequencing is required.

In this modern world we take pride in saying that we are multi-tasking kings and queens, when in reality we have wasted more precious time than not. Think carefully about which tasks you are about to do “multi-task” and proceed with caution.

multitasking graph

 

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