Multitasking: Is It Your Friend or Enemy?

18 Sep

I think, to an extent, it comes down to your personality and what you are trying to multitask…er, with.

If you are juggling a few things at the same time and you can make it work just as well together as apart, then good for you. There are some tasks which seem to go together very well, and it is no real stretch to work on them side by side.


On the other hand, if you are a focused type, who prefers to concentrate on one thing at a time, you might do better to steer clear of multitasking. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out by mentally (or physically) running around in circles.


If you are trying to do something important while also letting yourself be distracted by something trivial, your work will suffer. Either it will take twice as long, or you will end up having to edit the tar out of it at a later date. Not really a desirable outcome.

Say you are trying to get an essay written. You are typing away on this project that is due tomorrow afternoon, when your friend starts texting you about the movie they’re watching. This divides your brain’s energy between two very different things. You’re trying to sound smart in the essay, but using texting short-cuts on your phone. You are also trying to remember your research facts, and pull up memories of the movie they are referring to. The essay will suffer, and your friend will think you’re not interested in the conversation because you take an extra couple minutes to reply.

Not an ideal situation.


That’s not to say that technology is bad for productivity. Word sprints with your Twitter friends look like they could be a lot of fun while helping you reach your word count goal for the day . But here, you agree to do a task, set a time limit, put Twitter aside while working on your writing, then switch back to Twitter after the sprint is finished.


So, I’m not saying that multitasking is bad for you. I just think that there are times when we need to concentrate on one task at a time so that we can get it done better and faster.


Now if I could only remember this in every day life. *eye roll*

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What are your thoughts on multitasking?

Do you do a lot of it, or are you a strict one thing at a time worker?


2 Responses to “Multitasking: Is It Your Friend or Enemy?”

  1. lucindasutherland September 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    As you know, since you KNOW me, I am a multi-tasker. I multi-task to help keep me on task because I am SOOOO distractable that I will wander off and burn dinner if I don’t find other things to keep me in the kitchen. So, I multi-task cooking by unloading the dishwasher while I wait for the water to boil or peeling veggies while I watch a movie. I am also highly frustratable when I am working on something creative – anything can make me give it up if I don’t work at keeping myself appeased. So, I write until the computer makes me mad then I grab the book that has been waiting patiently beside me until my brain has had a chance to cool down and I can get back to the writing. Same thing works with embroidery or knitting. To get my brain to focus while I am listening to a lecture, lesson, or sermon I usually need to take notes AND knit whenever there are no notes needed. Knitting is very good to keep my brain on track – for some reason if my hands are empty my brain wanders off and tries to make shopping lists or draw house-plans – so I keep knitting with me just in case I need help paying attention!


    • lucindasutherland September 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      OK, now that I’ve watched the videos I want to pick at that second one… they said there is always a cost for multi-tasking. Having burned a LOT of broccoli I can attest to the fact that there is always a cost for NOT multi-tasking. Back when I was burning broccoli I didn’t set out to multi-task. I set out to fix supper. I wandered away because JUST fixing supper is boring when it is at the “wait while it boils” stage. I didn’t plan to wander away, I didn’t give my brain some other task to do, my brain just woke up to find that my body had wandered away with it while it was “waiting.” Also, I wish he had given some examples when he said we shouldn’t multi-task serious (or was it important?) tasks – so now I have no idea what he considers important enough not to multi-task! I think sermons are serious enough that I shouldn’t multi-task, and often I can get away with only taking notes but sometimes I come out of my trance and realize that I would have been better off knitting because my mind wandered away without permission. I think leading the singing should be serious enough that I shouldn’t multi-task, but people keep expecting me TO multi-task while I’m doing it – YOU try singing each and every word correctly while changing the PowerPoint slide/following the musical notes/smiling at the congregation/cuing the pianist/switching sheet music to the next song seamlessly! Whew! Father God, please save us from preachy people who think that whatever works for them really MUST work for everyone.


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