So You Think You Can Multi Task?

Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. ~Alexander Graham bell

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no such thing as multitasking. Not in the sense that you are actually accomplishing two things at once.

Fact: The brain can only focus on one thing at a time.

While some people might think they can study and watch TV, or text while driving, they are not grasping the reality of what’s going on. In reality they are temporarily switching from one task to the other, which means that one task will always be neglected. If you have any doubt that multitasking is impossible, it’s quite easy to prove.

Picture someone walking down the street. They receive a text message and look down at the phone to read it and then respond. In order to read or send a text while they’re walking they must look down at the phone. Therefore they’re not looking in the direction they’re headed.

That’s why something like this happens . . .

If it was possible to multitask this lady would not need a dry set of clothes.

You can of course rapidly toggle between the phone and the floor, looking like a bobble head, but you’re certainly not doing two things at once. You are doing two separate things poorly.

First Things First

While people may convince themselves multitasking makes them more productive, it’s hardly true. We have become less productive and more distracted.

Have you ever had to read the same sentence in a book several times? That’s because there is something that distracted you at that moment. A ringing phone, a thought about the prior sentence, or some other thought, or maybe something caught your ear on TV. Either way your focus is interrupted because you will stop reading when your brain goes into another thought or signals an action.

You must prioritize important tasks and see them through to fruition. A text message can wait unless it’s urgent. This in turn will teach people to respect your time. You cannot be immediately or instantly available at all times to everyone, but you can be available for the most important things. You must be willing to accomplish those things that are important or that are a responsibility. This means you have to focus.

Clowning Around

Is it possible to do two things at once? Yes, if you consider walking and chewing gum impressive. While I’m joking, chewing gum and walking at the same time really has nothing to do with cognitive processing. Chewing gum is not a cognitive skill and chewing gum while walking does not impede the person’s ability to process information.

When it comes to business and our time, it’s not possible — nor is it ever beneficial (usually) — to multitask. In fact, recent research has shown that that switching from one task to another takes a serious toll on productivity. Those who multitask have more trouble tuning out distractions than people who focus on one task at a time. Also, doing many different things at once can actually impair cognitive ability. Ouch!

We know that:

  • According to some researchers, multitasking can reduce productivity by approximately forty-percent.
  • Switching from one task to another makes it difficult to tune out distractions causing mental blocks that can slow down your progress.

It’s important to understand and accept that the human brain handles tasks in a sequential manner, one at a time. Although switching back and forth between tasks at our command is possible, it happens so rapidly we might think we’re multitasking but don’t be fooled, the human brain will always be distracted from one task while it is focusing on another.

I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking. ~ Emma Watson

Don’t be distracted, be productive.

Rob Liano
Rock Star Life Coach & Sales Trainer
www.rockstarsalestraining.com
1.855.832.ROCK (7625)

© Rob Liano and Rock Star Success Coaching, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rob Liano and Rock Star Success Coaching with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Rob Liano

The Rock Star Success Coach & Sales Trainer, Rob Liano is a best selling author and a Certified Life Coach empowering others through Personal Development & Professional Achievement!
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3 Responses to So You Think You Can Multi Task?

  1. Suzie says:

    Love this Rob!! It is referenced in my upcoming blog post.

  2. Pingback: The Natural | Rob Liano – The Rock Star Success Coach

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