The Problem with Multi-tasking

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under blog

Have you ever sat in front of the computer reading email while talking to someone on the phone and listening to the news on the nearby TV? Such multi-tasking is pretty common place these days. I’ve even seen people strolling on the beach and texting away on their Blackberry while holding a conversation with the person walking next to them. Life has sped up so much that we feel like we have to do as many things as we can at once just to keep up. But then the question is, what information and experiences are we really taking in at these times?

The thing about multi-tasking is that we can’t actually do multiple things at the same time, not fully. Our brains are built to focus, not run multiple programs at the same time the way a computer can. This means that when we have multiple things going on but we aren’t fully experiencing any one of them. We are not “living in the now” but rather in a shallow, half-realized moment. How much do you fail to notice while multi-tasking? What personal connections do you miss out on? What amazing moment in your child’s life will you never have a memory of to cherish because you are half focused elsewhere?

In our high tech, fast paced world, it might not be fashionable, but taking time to slow down, put the high-tech toys away, and become completely aware of your surroundings, the conversation you are engaged in, and the way you are feeling at the moment may actually be the ‘edge’ you need to keep up with the rat race. You will be more content moment to moment, probably much less stressed, and certainly happier with your life and your progress because you would know exactly where you are and where you have been. So next time you are ambling through the great outdoors, attending a family gathering, or even just talking on the phone, turn your focus and your full awareness on where you are and what is most important at that moment. See if it doesn’t make a huge difference in the quality of your work and the quality of your life.


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