Multitasking is just another form of what I call, “mental clutter”, or even “time clutter” for that matter. Sure, with extremely mundane tasks this is very possible and fairly easy; like walking and chewing gum at the same time. But most of the time when people indicate that they are multitasking, they are working on two (or more) projects at the same time. The problem with this is that we must divide our attention between the projects, divide our focus. But …. but by the very definition of focus, it is singular. We can only focus on one thing at a time. So by focusing on multiple projects, multiple tasks, we are in fact focusing on ……. nothing. We are completely unfocused; scattered.
The consequence of this, is getting results on ALL projects that is less than adequate. And anything worth doing, is worth doing well. It is also very likely that the results contain errors.
- We don’t care that the results are less than accurate/good. This tells me that said projects/tasks were not ones that we were well invested in anyway (emotionally, mentally, or financially). If this is the case than the projects themselves are just clutter in our lives; un-enriching tasks.
- We DO care about the results as these are valued projects which we have a real investment in. We discover once the tasks are complete that they are not quite up to our standards, and have to go back and redo the work (fix our mistakes). This means investing more time in these projects. More time than if we had just focused on each project separately. This is unnecessarily wasted time.
Either way, multitasking is just clutter, wasted time.
In a nutshell:
There is only what is called “muscle memory”, and there is “focus.” If a task is too complex for us to retain in our muscle memory, then it requires focus. Humans can only focus on one thing at a time.