Multitasking; A Pain in the Arse

I was inspired to write about multitasking after reading Matt Richtel’s series in the New York Times, “Driven to Distraction”. His articles point out the pitfalls of drivers trying to multitask and the dangers involved in doing that. He’s also written about the entire array of electronic, digital devices that now seduce us away from awareness of our surroundings. I was relieved to read about this because it validates my own doubts and concerns about our current culture of distraction and multitasking.

I’ve always defined multitasking as “many things done, but few things done well”. That sums it up for me because I’m lousy at multitasking and find that the increasing demands for it in the workplace are irritating as hell.

Multitasking leaves little room for craftsmanship, or satisfaction. It’s life and work on the run. Get this done, get that done, get this and that done at the same time while unconsciously dropping the ball somewhere else. Loose ends wave around like Medusa’s snaky hair, demanding attention here and there and everywhere, threatening to bite when you least expect it. It’s a crazy way to live, and to work, yet we find ourselves doing it anyway.

I wonder if we have to live that way or do we choose to? Who or what is demanding that we work and live this way? What would happen if you gave your full attention to something, did it and moved on to the next thing? Would there be fewer of those Medusa strands waving around? Would you get fired for not achieving a certain level of output despite increased quality of what you accomplished? I sure don’t know but I do know this, that if we don’t take a stand against this kind of mental abuse, it will just get worse. By accommodating it, we enable it and by enabling it, we perpetuate it.

As one who is mostly incapable of multitasking anyway, I find it easy to just say no. I really don’t have much choice in the matter since I’m so bad at it. But if you’re one of those people who is good at it, or think you’re good at it, it might be tougher. You are now expected to operate at that level and any lessening of that will be seen as backsliding. Good luck with that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s