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In Defense of Multitasking…?

1 Jun

715350_18676359-dachadesigI was chatting with a good friend of mine, and the topic of multitasking came up (possibly due to the fact that it’s my constant status message on gmail when I’m online :D). My friend said that the constant shifting of tasks  involves more mobilization time and therefore less efficiency (to which I replied, “Think young, my friend.”  😆 )

Because one can only defend something that one knows completely, I did a little research (care of my good friend, Google). Wikipedia told me that multitasking refers to any of the following:

  • Computer multitasking – the apparent simultaneous performance of two or more tasks by a computer’s central processing unit
  • Media multitasking – could involve using a computer, mp3, or any other multimedia in conjunction with another
  • Human multitasking – the ability of a person to perform more than one task at a time

Me? I have two simple definitions for multitasking:

multiּtaskּing (noun):

  1. the state of having more than 10 Firefox tabs open at any one time
  2. a way of life, specifically, mine

It is not a strange thing for me to have 10 Firefox tabs open while I work, and I have often found myself in situations where I have to give instructions to someone while walking, or take down a message while cradling a phone in my ear and listening to the person on the other end of the line speak… in fact, I think many moms manage to get their mommy-jobs done through the sheer ability to multitask!

So I stand in defense of the awesome stuff one can accomplish while multitasking.

But then, because I like to ponder on things, I ended up thinking about it some more.

I thought about how multitasking is something that comes really easy to the young (and restless?). You know how they say you understand things better if you put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Well, I decided to put myself in the hypothetical multitasking shoes of one of my teenage sons. Say, my mom was in the middle of explaining to me why the performance of my chores is of ultimate benefit of not only the people that I live with but myself as well… can I possibly tell her that I can pay attention to her worthy advice and simultaneously tap my toes and fingers in time to the tunes playing on my iTouch? Could I argue this case successfully in the Multitasking court and stand a chance of winning if the jury was made up of moms and dads?

No. I didn’t think so either.

Then again (says the devil’s advocate sitting on my shoulder), maybe multitasking doesn’t work only when it involves using one sense in several activities (After all, how can you concentrate on listening to two things at the same time if you only have one pair of ears?) but it can actually work if you’re using two or more different senses? Case in point: consider all those experts who profess that studying with classical music playing in the background is of ultimate benefit to students. Surely that would make a pretty good case in favor of multitasking?

Hmmm. Good point.

But see, as I write this, I’ve got two little boys jumping on the bed and another teenage boy listening to loud music, and I find that I have to pause and collect my thoughts because they’re running away from me! I can’t concentrate!

What were we talking about?

Right. Multitasking. 😆

So. Do I defend multitasking?

Let’s see. I know I can’t dig deep into my brain and produce great fruits if my mind is traveling elsewhere. (Multitasking naysayers: 1pt.)

I can shift from tab to Firefox tab with great efficiency and negligible time lag, and with no detriment to the work I do on each tab. ( Multitasking ayesayers: 1 pt.)

I know I can’t pray unless I’m in a really quiet place and I shut down all the rest of my senses. (Multitasking? Nah!: 1 pt.)

I know I can move my fingers and my mouth at the same time when I pray the Rosary. (Multitasking: Yes!: 1 pt.)

I know I can’t write and edit articles if music, especially music that I love, is playing in the background: I’m likely to sing more and write less (and let me tell you, that’s not a pretty sight). (No to Multitasking: 1 pt. But this discussion is getting to be incriminating. LOL!)

I can download multiple goodies at the same time! That’s the whole reason for DSL right? (Yes to Multitasking: 1 pt.)

I could go on and on, but let’s cut it short with this: I admit I am tempted now to add certain qualifications to my YEA vote. Within certain boundaries, yes, multitasking works. But not when the activity at hand requires high levels of concentration or involves any kind of interaction with a loved one. (So if any husbands are reading this, which is highly unlikely anyway 😆 , no, you cannot employ me as your defense lawyer when your wife complains that you’re not listening to her fully).

So… does multitasking make one more efficient, or less? What do you think?

Let’s ponder further the answer to that while we listen to this. HAHAHAHA!

Confession: I really just wanted you to listen to this great song, whatever it is you’re doing right now. hehehe. More exciting news coming up soon!

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