Multitasking is Not Real

When walking walk. When eating eat. – Zen Proverb

Multi-tasking is a great skill to have. We see articles and suggestions about the best way to multi-task all over. However, new research is suggesting that maybe multitasking is not such a great thing after all. In recent years articles published on NPR and various business magazines as well as health website tell a different story about multitasking on the health, brain and productivity. Multitasking is not all it is cracked up to be and it can show in your work and overall wellbeing.

I find when I am multitasking that I feel rushed. I do not feel that I am giving it my best. Imagine when you are having a conversation with someone and something on the television catches your attention. What happens to the person that was speaking? Whatever they are saying tends to fade away, doesn’t it? All of a sudden, few seconds later, you have to ask them to repeat themselves or pretend like you were paying attention to every word they spoke. That is multitasking, and it is not fair, is it?

I learned the detriments of multitasking as a nurse working in the ER. If there is any place that multitasking is largely used, it is definitely the ED. When working there you are listening to alarm bells, call lights, paying attention to doctors’ orders, listening for the ambulance, and taking care of anywhere from one to five patients, depending on the acuity. It can be a circus. However, when you are in a patient’s room, she is your focus 100% of the time. Nothing makes a person feel neglected like rushing them or ignoring them or even telling them that someone is coding in the other room. Whether you are with them for 5 seconds or 30 minutes, they are your priority and focus and they need to feel it.

Multitasking is not real. It is an illusion that we build around ourselves to feel more productive. We are doing it at a cost. You may have a number of tasks to complete and prioritize but in reality, you are completing them one task at a time. The more we focus on devoting our time to that one thing in order to get it done right, the more we will actually feel accomplished and satisfied.

I definitely would rather sit down and take my time to enjoy my meal instead of rushing it because I am on the go. Heck, I may trip and fall and be left with an even bigger mess. Let us get focused.

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