Multitasking is for Morons


People go on about multitasking. Usually they trot out the same old chestnut that women are better at multitasking. Usually that’s stated as an attack on men to ‘prove’ that women are better than men at something.

Why people are so insecure that they want to waste time pointing out differences between the sexes to gain some sort of tribal upper-hand escapes me. What people also seem to overlook is that all these things are ‘on average’. It doesn’t mean that because you’re a woman you are going to be better at such and such or worse at such and such. And it doesn’t mean that skills such as multitasking and reading maps can’t be learnt. There are plenty of women who can read maps better than the average man and plenty of men who are better at multitasking than the average woman.

But multitasking is not a ‘great triumph’, it’s a curse and a scourge to your creativity. Being able to do lots of things at the same time sounds like a great idea in our time constrained world. But when we look at what tasks multitaskers actually do concurrently they are all mundane left-brain tasks. The danger is that such an emphasis has been put on multitasking that it’s created yet another benchmark of left-brain prowess that people feel they need to live up to. People are given yet another reason not to concentrate on doing one thing well. People again fail to live in the moment and to take the time to enjoy life, instead packing in as many robotic tasks as possible.

Creative tasks demand full absorption. They require freedom from a mind that is worried about ‘getting things done quickly and efficiently’. A painter, sculptor, writer or composer needs to take as long as it takes to create their work. They are not clock watching, cutting corners or doing anything else while they are committed to the creative act. You’re not going to generate that killer idea for your business while you run about doing a load of other stuff. Meanwhile your competitor may well have just come up with something wonderful.

My wish for you is to gain access at a conscious level to your inventive, intuitive and imaginative powers that normally go untapped, or only fleetingly accessed in our left brain dominated, verbal, technological culture and education system.

Save multitasking for mindless jobs and spend as much of your life as possible being mindful instead.

For more see:
www.aydinstone.com
www.sunmakers.co.uk

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7 comments on “Multitasking is for Morons

  1. I received this via email:

    Hi Ayd,

    I fully agree with you about multi tasking. As a sole trader or director of a small company, it is easy to get into the trap of doing everything to save money etc. I had got into the trap of doing everything and couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Also my creativity was being hampered and I lost the ability to visualise the future. I am now outsourcing – with a VA, answering service where required, book keeper and a fantastic young chap who is managing the database, emails etc.
    I hate generalisations, including gender based ones; they are sexist if nothing else, and so lacking in value.

    Sue

    Like

    • Great stuff Graham. I’m glad that the title of my post is not just provocative and outrageous, but an accurate description backed up by solid science. You’re allowed to run multiple autonomic body functions as background tasks I believe. It’s just higher functions that can;t be multitasked. For most people, higher functions aren’t tasked at all.

      So…

      Multitasking is a myth
      monotasking is the ideal
      atasking is the norm…

      Like

  2. Thank you Ayd. I get so frustrated when people say women are multitaskers it’s rubbish I have to have complete concentration when training in communication skills. Trying to do something else at the same time would lead to disaster. Husband on the other hand is a pilot and says he couldn’t fly if he didn’t multitask!!

    Like

  3. Thanks Charlotte. Mindfulness is the key. With your husband, I suspect all the tasks he’s doing are connected with the big task of flying the plane safely. I bet he’s not on the phone to his mates, playing the guitar, searching the web, doing a crossword AND flying the plane. (or at least I hope not!)

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  4. Multi-tasking is like the term “smart phones” both are a complete misnomer. it’s true you can do lots of things at the same time. but it’s what the tasks/functions are that count towards how good left brain/right brain is….

    Like

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