We have all seen it in others, I'm sure, if not in ourselves. The need to "multi-task", that is do many things at any given time and keep doing them till we shut down for the day, night or whatever. The idea behind multi- task is simple: we don't have a choice! We need to meet deadlines, juggle job demands, family demands, all kinds of other personal stuff moving in our minds, as well as the every-so-often obsessive thought that has us analyzing, wondering, fearing and planning.

 Ron Askenas, has taken the words right out my mouth in  To Multitask Effectively, Focus on Value, Not Volume:

 "I used to be amazed when I would watch my daughter at the computer terminal working on a high school paper, listening to music, eating a snack, and conducting simultaneous instant messaging conversations with a dozen friends around the world. Had her brain been re-wired by the constant use of technology so that she could concentrate on different activities and actually get things done; or should I worry that she was trying to do too many things at once ?"

 Askenas goes on to quote a Stanford University research finding:

 "Now a study from researchers at Stanford University suggests that my concerns may have been well-founded. The study conclusions, reported in the Aug. 24 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are unambiguous: "Multitaskers were just lousy at everything," according to Clifford I. Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford and one of the study's investigators. Despite starting the research on 100 college students with the hypothesis that multitaskers had some special abilities, the study found that multitaskers were actually quite ineffective at managing information, maintaining attention, and getting results. Compared to study participants who did things one task at a time, they were mediocre."

 I sincerely wonder if we have gone completely mad at the level of multi-tasking we expect of ourselves and each other! Organizations stuff their employees with long lists of tasks which have to be done "urgently" since someone promised something to someone who paid money to receive it. Usually it is some salesperson who needs to make the sale and then it is the role of the R&D to make it happen. And on the individual level, I see so many women who tear themselves apart in trying to manage their jobs, the kids who just came home and are alone while she is at the office, the never-ending chores that must be attended to, and the list goes on and on. We have come to admire multi-tasking as some sort of  heroic trait of success, but I wonder about this all.

Something seems to have been lost in an age where instant messaging, 160 characater twitter, sound-bites, poor writing skills and ever-decreasing reading and oratory ability seem to be the going thing. I say this all while I see myself as a person who is not bad at all in multi-tasking and perhaps needs a little bit of that adrenalin to keep me moving. However, I can also see that we are missing something, that something that allows one to do deep into something undisturbed. To explore something deep, focused and with full attention. Perhaps our whole age is one of ADHD and that makes us believe that only multi-tasking will lead us to success. I wonder if multi-tasking is not leading us actually in the exact opposite direction…   

The late Prof. Randy Pausch lecture- “Time Management”- Nov. 2007 (1 hour 17 minutes)http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5784740380335567758

מאמרו של רוני דוניץ: "מי מנהל את מי בחיים- אתה את הזמן או הזמן אותך?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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