Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Multi-tasking Tip #3

Why will the subject of multi-tasking not die? This is an example of the delusional thinking mentioned earlier. With today's standard brain inputs being relatively short, multi-tasking can appear to work.

Yes, it's true that our days are more fragmented. We get interruptions from telephones, for example. But it's not true that our processing abilities have suddenly switched from serial to parallel. And therein lies the poison pill of the myth of multitasking.

People confuse activity with results. So what if you are sending a text message to one person while talking on the phone to another person? What did your text message really say--anything useful? How deep and beneficial is that conversation?

Then there's a hugely obvious example: The person who is yakking on a cell phone while oblivious to the traffic around him or her. Yes, you can talk and drive at the same time. But you cannot do both activities well at the same time. Both will try to access certain parts of the brain at the same time, and the brain will simply put one request in queue. This is why, for example, you can drive down the interstate during low traffic hours and not have any problem on the phone; but why trying to chat while driving in intense traffic always results in one-finger salutes and blaring horns (and sometimes in collisions).

If you are multitasking, you have given short shrift to the reverence principle. You are assuming you can violate the rules that result from the construction of your own body. This is a recipe for failure.

A more productive approach is to evaluate which things need to be done first. Do those first, and do those well.

Does multitasking ever work under any circumstances? Yes. And that is part of the problem. People extrapolate from one success the idea that the same technique will always succeed. When you have two activities that don't compete for the same areas of the brain, multitasking works. This is why you can file papers away or dust your bookshelves while talking on the phone. But filing papers and dusting are far simpler tasks than driving a car.



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.