Leave Multitasking to Computers (Intern Diary)

Andrew Leach
Andrew Leach
April 13, 2018

I used to think that I was a champion at multitasking. Wait, sorry…

I used to think I was THE champion at multitasking. At one point or another, I probably had thoughts about putting multitasking as a skill on my CV.

So in a matter of six months, how did I flop my own opinion on multitasking? Let’s first take a look at the definition of multitasking according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary…

“The performance of multiple tasks at one time. The job requires a person who is good at multitasking.”

or my personal favourite,

“The concurrent performance of several jobs by a computer.”

Well, you heard it here folks, the dictionary says that multitasking is a computer’s job. Are you really going to argue with the dictionary?

Before fighting with your giant wordbook, you should already have your own opinion on whether or not humans are capable of multitasking.

Here’s my opinion based on my personal experiences:

I’ve never actually managed to truly “multitask”

Sure, in the past I have been able to work on two or more projects simultaneously. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of today’s working world.

That said, I’m not a computer. I’m going to naturally prioritise one task over another. Even if I think I’m working on two things at a time, reality says otherwise. I’ll actually be working on one task while lazily throwing together the other at the same time.

My Quality of Work Suffers

The human brain is capable of so many things but devoting 100% of my attention to two or more projects is impossible. Computers are programmed to manage this. That’s not so much the case for people. We’re a bit more complicated. At best, I like to tell myself I can devote half of my brain to each task which sounds like a success until I realise I’ve only given 50% effort to each task.

Putting it into that context actually sounds more like failure to me.

I get it though. Sometimes life gets in the way and emergencies come up that force you address them in a timely manner. That’s fine. Pause the task you were working on to fix the emergency.

Here’s my flow of thought and my advice for you when you’ve been handed several tasks at one time.

  1. Prioritise one event over another. Does one task have a sooner due date? If yes, pick that one. If no, flip a coin.
  2. Devote 100% of your attention to finishing the task. Finished? Great! Pat yourself on the back.
  3. Move on to the next task. Dedicate 100% of your effort to it.
  4. Repeat

Simple right? It might not be multitasking, but you’re crossing items off your list AND performing the best of your ability.

Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

Want to chat about digital marketing, content, or have discovered a way to truly multitask? Send me an email at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you.

We have a super cool website to show you the work and services we provide and it can be found at soolnua.com.

For all things meetings and events related, Padraicino is the man to talk to. 

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