Monday, January 19, 2009

Multitasking: Art or Distraction

This article was on MSN this morning, and it set me to thinking about how I multitask in my own life.

In today's society, women (in particular) take such pride in their ability to multitask, but at what cost? Yes, it is important to keep everything running within the family, on the job, etc, but does this actually detract from producing quality work? In my case, I think it does. I think we get so caught up in "multitasking" or juggling everything at once, that we forget how to be in the moment and immerse ourselves in the task at hand.

I first started noticing the effects of this at work. I would have several projects going on at once, which is fine, but when I tried to work on them in bits and pieces at the same time, I found I was losing focus on what I was doing. When I prioritized and worked on them one at a time (allowing for phone, e-mail, and student interruptions, of course!) things were much smoother. This also happens during phone conversations. Remember the days when phones were actually attached to a wall and any task had to be within arms reach? Obviously, those days are long gone, and now with cell phones I can do lots of things at home or out of the house while I'm "catching up" with friends. Great, right? I'm not so sure. Because my mind is not fully engaged in the conversation at hand and is focused on other things, I don't recall as much about conversations as I used to. This pattern has emerged over time, and I would like to change it. I won't stop multi-tasking completely, but I will take more pride in what I am doing. Quality is more important than quantity, and I'm not failing if I chose to not do a million things at once. Multi-tasking certainly has its place, but it's not the only way to accomplish something!

(I'll climb off my soapbox now...)

1 comment:

Christina said...

Amen! I second what you're saying about changes in phone conversations.