The Data is in
Science tells us that multitasking is a fraud and a thief.
Contrary to myth, it turns out that we can think deeply about only one thing at a time.
Science now tells us that multi-tasking:
Increases the amount of time to complete any one task.
Lowers the quality of decision making.
Reduces our ability to think deeply about any one thing for a sustained length of time.
Distracts us from solving difficult problems.
Introduces an additional tiresome, fatiguing dead-weight burden: task switching.
The Enemy: Multi-tasking
Information is coming at you from every direction. Your news and social feeds are endless. There is always a next item up, something to share, something grabbing at your attention, something to wear down your imagination.
You have multiple productivity tools with endless lists of tasks, reminders, notifications, messages, etc. running in multiple tabs within multiple applications running on several devices. Then there is voice mail to listen to. And, e-mail to reply to. And, do not forget the mail to sort through.
It is not the tools themselves that are the problem. It is that there are so many and where do you stop? Endless is everywhere, and not in a good way.
Authority and opinion leaders that tout multi-tasking as a positive thing, that ask it of their charges, and that demand it from you.
In most cases, these folks are suffering the same as you. In some cases though, the multi-tasking regime is a conscious, albeit subtle strategy to keep you off base, focused on so many things that you fail to notice or take exception with the larger issues at play.
The Enabling Us
Our natural desire to please drives us to attempt to please everyone at once, or at least everyone and everything important to us: from the customer that wants the highest quality at the lowest price as soon as possible to the boss with a priority list a mile wide.
The good news is that once we realize that we have been our own tormentor, we can become our own way forward.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smiling, nonapoloegetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.”
If you feel overwhelmed
I know how you feel. As a multi-tasker, I felt the same way.
Then, I developed this approach with pen and paper.
Now, it is an app in need of a few alpha testers to polish it up before it is released into the wild.
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