There does tend to be a general consensus among many of my female friends, that men cannot multi-task… I do of course, beg to differ…
Additionally, there a a bunch of ex-spurts who tend to complain that people do too many things at the same time… I know a teenage client of mine tells me he has music on, his instant messenger buzzing away, while answering emails and doing his college work! What a busy bee he is while on his computer…
We are told to quit with all the unnecessary web-browsing, texting, twittering, music-listening, eating, and drinking. The key to productivity, competence, and even happiness is to focus on one thing and do it right according to many schools of thought.
Now, this is excellent advice if you’re performing brain surgery or driving a packed double decker bus in central London or conducting a hypnotherapy session with a client… At least, I’d feel safer in the knowledge my brain surgeon was not eating a pot noodle and playing Bejewelled on his iPhone while removing a tumour… Otherwise, I am of the opinion that this notion of having to be focused on one thing all the time is nonsense, there I said it.
Firstly, many activities really can be done on auto-pilot. In fact, it’s preferreable. I listen to music and audio books while on the treadmill and there’s nothing wrong with that… I often check my emails while on hold to the bank… And surely it makes a lot of sense to do your ironing while watching the telly, or at least while in a state of self-hypnosis delivering some valuable suggestions to yourself, no?Â (You see… Men CAN multi-task!)
Secondly then… There are activities that are so goddam boring and aversive that if wasn’t for multi-tasking, they would never get done at all… My accounts meetings need to be done with cups of tea and spots of idle chit-chat.
Thirdly, I’d say that those attentional puritans are right that some activities are done better with total focus. There is considerable psychological and neurological evidence in support of this. But so what? Not everything needs to be perfect, and it’s often more efficient, and a lot more fun, to do two things at 80 percent capacity than one thing at 100 percent capacity. As they would say in the big budget TV shows – You do the math.
If you are reading this while messaging a friend, watching a youtube clip, and/or listening to music, good on you…
And, in fact, surgeons do multi-task too. Last year, I had an exploratory op throughout which I used self-hypnosis as anaesthesia and, from far off, I could hear my surgeon (who was used to people being out for the count and not able to hear him) talking about what he was having for lunch and whether he could get tickets to the next match of the season. My op was obviously auto-pilot for him. Ha. 🙂
Well there you go then… Multi taksing for all!
Thank you Sophie, always lovely having you add your twopenneth 🙂
I am all for multitasking when possible and giving good and enjoyable results.
A small comment:
You cannot watch a youtube clip (usually there is also audio) and listen to music. This will get you cacaphonic results, not multitasking.
I think that multitaksing is possible when you do several activities-each involving another modality (listening/doing/moving/seeing)
but not listening to 2 audios, seeing 2 movies/clips etc
Thank you for your considered response Judy.
Many would say that we do not actually do anything simultaneously and our minds just skirt around everything very quickly one after the other…