Multitasking….Productive or Disruptive?

Here I sit writing to you in the middle of a multitasking week from Hell.  Not to long ago I took great pride in my skills as a ‘multi-tasker’.  In fact I used to refer to  myself as the quintessential “Queen of Multitasking”.  Those days are over!  I don’t think anyone is a good multi-tasker.

Funny thing is I’m not alone in my conclusions.  Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says……..

………”People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” and “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”[i]

Science will always set you free!!!  According to Earl if we  pride ourselves on our multitasking skills  we are “delusional”.

 Earl goes on to explain,  “Our minds are incapable of “doing” two things at once”.

Seems to me what some of us are proficient at is stop & switch.  This stop & switch action creates the illusion of multitasking which scientists refer to as “delusion”.

Ironically Earl and I are not related…..at least not to my knowledge.  But once I read the above quotes about multi-tasking research our kinship of mind was solidified.

Earl Miller, Professor of Neuroscience

Gina Miller, aka Multi-tasker

multitasking clown

In order to perfect the ole stop & switch you have to be SUPER organized, know your limits and be capable of delegating.   IME (in my experience) the majority of self proclaimed multi-taskers are also micro-managers.

Now introduce a micro-managing-self proclaimed multi-tasking wizard-egomaniac type  into  the mix and sit back and watch the proverbial manure hit the fan.   Welcome to my aforementioned  work week from Hell .

Especially if the said MMSPMTWE type ^ is not organized and thinks he/she is capable of doing everything better than everyone else on the team or planet and finds it necessary to blow up your VM, text messages and emails with all their nit picking edits and suggestions!

Aaaah, I feel better now.  

MicroMgrMix

Lucky for me I’m super organized which allows me to “Stop & Switch” rather quickly.  Those who know me can attest to how often they hear me say, “Wait one minute please I can only work on one thing at a time”.

And if I’m in the  “creative zone” you may not even receive an acknowledgement that I heard you, because my brain shuts down the outside world  to allow me to focus on the task at hand.

Great news…..I am normal.  Neuroscience backs this phenomena up with MRI scans of the brain taken while subjects switch from one task to another.[i]

So the answer for me is clear…multitasking is DISRUPTIVE!  

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Multitasking….Productive or Disruptive?

  1. Well, you sound exactly like me, except your office is neater! I’m EXCELLENT at the stop and switch; that’s how I wrote so many books. But there does come a time when even the best multitasker not only hits the wall but slides down it (a quote from Sue Kauffman). I’m so glad you’re going to have a vacation soon!

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