August 28, 2008

Staff Picks: The Myth of Multitasking

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:00 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

It seems we all "multitask" these days... talking to a coworker while writing a blog post (Kate), answering the cellphone while crunching the monthly numbers, reading a new email while taking a phonecall. In fact, you're multitasking right now, aren't you? Dave Crenshaw would so no, you're actually not... he would say you're "switchtasking." You see, his Myth of Multitasking (watch out, it's a parable) not only exposes the inefficiencies of multitasking, it states that it doesn't even exist. Why? Well, in his words:

Because the truth is we really cannot do two things at the same time--we are only one person with only one brain. Neurologically speaking, it has been proven to be impossible. What we are really doing is switching back and forth between two tasks rapidly, typing here, paying attention there, checking our "crackberry" here, answering voicemail there, back and forth back and forth at a high rate. Keep this up over a long period of time, and you have deeply engrained habits that cause stress and anxiety and dropped responsibilities and a myriad of productivity & focus problems. It's little wonder so many people complain of increasingly short attention spans!

The quote above is taken from Dave's guest-post at The Cranky Widgets Blog.Since its release on the 18th, the book and author have been on a "blog tour," being reviewed and interviewed all over the blogosphere. If you're interested in learning more about Dave and his ideas, I've put links to many of those posts below.
Virtually Organized
Black Belt Productivity
Get Rich Slowly
Slacker Manager
Change Your Thoughts

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.