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Do You Multi-task?

  • By Vishwanthar on General

  • November 4, 2014

I don’t multitask. I, however, tried several times, and every time the outcome was disastrous. Moreover, I blamed myself. I thought I am dumber—a non-achiever. I always hear that successful men multitask and are very good at that. That is how they get the job done.
Nonetheless, now I don’t feel so. I thank Frank Forencich for reinforcing my belief. I wondered how on earth people could multitask. It is impossible for me to fathom. Take for example, Facebook. Imagine you are chatting with a friend. Sooner or later another friend of yours wants to chat with you, as he sees you online. Now, a barrage of questions pops up from both your friends. You are forced to answer them both. Tell me, how many would have sent the wrong message to the wrong person? Many of us, I believe. Moreover, right after sending the wrong message we state, “Sorry, wrong person.” Do these words ring a bell?

Below is an excerpt from the book titled Beautiful Practice written by Frank Forencich. Frank states why multi-tasking leads to failure.
“Multi-tasking is a hot topic these days. Almost everyone does it to some degree and many of us believe that it’s simply a practical way to get more done. We think we’re being efficient, but in actual fact, we’re not. A convincing body of neurological research demonstrates that multi-tasking is actually a highly ineffective strategy. In fact, the brain can only attend to one thing at a time. When we try to do two things at once, the brain switches attention rapidly between tasks with lightning speed.

Unfortunately, this high speed switching comes with a cost: Every time we shift the focus of our attention, we must rearrange with the object or process in question, an act that requires psychophysical energy. As a result, multi-tasking limits our ability to enter into deep engagement with any one thing, which in turn limits how well we can perform. Multi-tasking leads to attention dilution, poor quality reps and weaker learning. Fast switching of attention eats into our cognitive reserved which in turn leads to errors and exhaustion. Ultimately, it’s a lose-lose strategy. As the 1 st century BC, writer Pubillius Syrus cautioned “To do two things at once is to do neither.” Or as the modern version has it: “Multitasking: the single best way to screw up both jobs.”

Moreover, I believe the same applies while we workout in the gym. Instead of us dwelling on the set and repetition at hand we worry about the next set and the next movement. In other words, we somehow want to wind up the workout, and it is sooner the better. We are never in the present moment. Why? As Frank says we are never comfortable in the present moment. We are always restless. We want to engage ourselves and distract ourselves with various streams of actions.

Don’t multi-task; rather focus on a single task and then switch to the next task.

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