The Multitasking Myth

So often these days, we try to do multiple things at the same time. I routinely hear people, both at work and outside, say that they're multitasking. The funny thing is that we humans are single-threaded beings and are pretty much incapable of such behavior. In non-computer terms, we can only do one thing at a time physically (unless you count breathing and blinking in there). Any yet, we all live under this myth that we can actually do a bunch of things at once.

The younger generation is even worse. They like to listen to their iPods while watching TV, surfing on their laptops, while eating dinner, (and probably painting toenails!)

With blackberries and such all the rage today, it gets even worse. People try and do all these things driving down the freeway (not that I ever do it, you know!) I've even been in bathrooms (usually at the airport) where the guy next to me is on a phone. Can you say L-O-S-E-R? That, my friends, DOES NOT QUALIFY AS MULTITASKING!!!

In my work, I often engage with people from around the world, where I have to take calls outside of normal business hours. It happens. My family has been really good about adjusting to it. Just don't try to "blend" those (or any other) calls into the rest of your life. I can imagine some hard-working type sitting at the dinner table with his family while trying to finish up a call. Stop the madness.

My request (for myself AND you) is that we try to be a little more conservative in how we manage all these things together. I'm tired of people who waste my time because they aren't paying attention, and then ask me to repeat whatever I was saying or doing when they decide it's convenient to participate. It's turning into a pretty ugly social phenomenon, and I need your help to try and fix it.

And please, please, please, if you are routinely on conference calls at work, don't say "please repeat the question, I was on mute," or anything like that when you're supposedly "multitasking" (meaning, doing your email and instant messaging!) Just fess up that you weren't paying attention. You'll get more respect.

Don't be a social reject!


Jenn said…
I'm afraid I'm definitely a multi-tasker. After all, I'm mommying and working at the same time. Trying typing, being on the phone, and breastfeeding silently all at the same time! You have shamed me.

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