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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

43F Podcast: The Myth of Multi-tasking

The Myth of Multi-tasking (mp3)

43Folders.com - "Multi-taskers" are really just splitting their time and attention into smaller slices than you; no one can really do more than one thing at a time. (2:34)

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peggy's picture

If women claim to...

If women claim to be good at multi-tasking, they (we) may just be making a virtue of painful necessity. If you spend full time, or almost full time, for a few years caring for a child or children, you find that you are constantly interrupted when you are trying to concentrate on something, like writing your doctoral dissertation. It is frustrating to be interrupted in the midst of a task that takes full and extended concentration. The trouble is that both the child and the dissertation require full and extended, preferably uninterrupted concentration. But after a while you get used to it, which is bad, because when your child becomes independent you find yourself seeking interruptions, needing them even, at the very peak of your concentration. So everything (like writing a book) takes a whole lot longer than it would have than similar tasks you performed when you were pre-child. In short, I agree that the whole non-idea of multi-tasking is at best wrong-headed, and any employer who encourages and expects multi-tasking from employees should be shot dead.




An Oblique Strategy:
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