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.

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