Reasons not to multitask?

Discussion in 'Self Improvement and Being Successful' started by Kay, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Kay

    Kay
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    I'd bet my bottom dollar that every one of us is multitasking as we speak - checking emails, working on projects, thinking about what's still to be done, what tomorrow holds etc. The one time you shouldn't though is when you're trying to learn something apparently.

    I read this excellent article about how we shouldn't multitask when we're trying to learn something because our brain literally doesn't absorb information as well as it could when we don't. It stores it in different areas of the brain depending on our focus.

    I found this well researched article fascinating and hope you like it: The Myth of Multitasking

    The question is, how do we fit it all in if we don't?
     
  2. Nazreen

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    I also believe that we shouldn't multitask when it comes to learning. We'll be less focused on the subject that we're trying to learn when we're doing other things. But then again, I've also met other outstanding people in the past who learn or study while listening to music.

    In my opinion, I think that multitasking is okay as long as you're doing two completely different things. If you're doing something physical, then you can also do something that's not physical. Good examples for this would be lifting/curling dumbbells while watching tv or jogging while listening to music.
     
  3. Fergal

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    Multi-tasking doesn't work for me personally. I much prefer to focus on one task at a time, to get it done and done well. I'm much less productive when I multi-task.

    Using a list with the most important items on top, helps me to achieve this focus. When I'm working on a task on the list I can do this work;
    1. In the knowledge that I'm doing the most important task that needs to be done at that time
    2. Without worrying about or being distracted by other tasks that need to be done. If something comes to mind that I haven't got on the list, I simply add it to the list and then get on with the task at hand.
     
  4. Kay

    Kay
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    I've never understood how people can study or work with music in the background. I've never been able to do it. Even a movie soundtrack playing in another room grates on my nerves. It's funny, but I tune out voices completely - someone can speak to me and it doesn't even register and yet with tv or anything similar, it's as distracting as someone yelling in my ears would be.

    You could well be right on the different activites, Nazreen. I hadn't considered that before much but now you mention it, I do my best thinking in the shower. I guess that would be classed as multitasking. :)
     
  5. Kay

    Kay
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    Fergal, I love to-do lists but I find them hard to keep on top of. I've tried many a time to work with them and when I remember to do it, they can be an excellent tool for me. But I fall by the wayside sometimes when I have lots going on and I become less disciplined than I should be about keeping them going. I know that's nuts too because it's probably the time when I need them most! :rolleyes:

    Tell me your secret. :D How do you avoid getting distracted by email? Do you just ignore it awhile or what? If you keep adding to the list, don't you need to reshuffle it as well and prioritize things? How often do you do that?

    Questions, questions. I would LOVE some more indepth tips from you on how you manage to maintain them effectively, Fergal. Please do tell when you have a free moment. Thanks!
     
  6. Fergal

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    I also find it very hard not to get distracted by email. When I'm working on an important task, on my PC and I really need to focus, I turn off Microsoft Outlook, so that I'm not distracted on incoming emails.

    Checking my emails is also one of the first tasks on my To Do list every day, this allows me to get any emails that have come in the previous day or overnight out of my inbox.

    I have created lots of folders in Outlook and I don't leave any emails in my inbox. When I open an email I either move it to a folder or delete it. If it is something that needs attention at a later time, I still file it and add an action item to my To Do list. By adopting this policy and by checking emails as little as twice a day (morning and afternoon) all emails can get actioned within a half working day.

    My schedule and To Do list does get reshuffled regularly. This is not a major difficulty however. All items on my list are written down on the left hand side of an A4 page. If say two items come up and require greater priority than the rest of the list, I simply note them in red, on the right hand side of my list. When these tasks are done I get back to my original list and continue working through it.

    It can actually help to keep two lists. One for the tasks you are going to do on that particular day and a second list for tasks and larger projects that you know will not get done on that day, but that do need to be done at some time. Noting these items on your second list allows you to focus on the day's tasks without the psychological distraction of thinking about other things you need to do.

    I write my To Do lists at the end of every working day. In this way, I don't need to start my day planning what I'm going to do on that day and can start working at the very beginning of every day. My first half hour is spent actually working, rather than getting ready to work.

    Hopefully this helps Kay, let me know if you have any further questions.

    This thread was about multi-tasking and my system, which does work for me, is actually the complete opposite of multi-tasking and has the aim of allowing me to focus on one task at a time.
     
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  7. Kay

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    Yes, I did steer it off course a bit there, didn't I? Sorry! I have an alarming habit in going off at a tangent. To prevent myself from doing so even more, I'll just say thank you very much for that detailed post and you've give me lots of food for thought! If I think of anything to ask, I'll start a new thread on it. :D
     

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