This is a guest blog from my sister, Lydia M.C. She has nothing to promote except for her disdain for the minutia of work.
It’s on the lips of every interviewee and plaguing resumes across the land. A single word that is anything but single: multitasking.
We’re probably all guilty of saying the words, “I’m an excellent multitasker,” but do we really want to list this as a job skill? A life skill?
According to dictionary.com, the first definition that pops up is: The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes. The definition is amended further down, stating Often used of humans in the same meaning it has for computers, to describe a person doing several things at once.
So basically, multitasking was originally used to describe a computer – and we humans have taken it on as our own, intentionally mimicking the actions of a computer.
I guess my brain just isn’t as equipped as a Pentium 7 or my husband’s fancy schmancy iPhone. I have an announcement I’d like to share with the world: I’m rebelling! I’m not going to pretend that I can compete with microchips. And I’m not going to multitask and I’ll tell you why.
I believe in focusing on one thing at a time and giving that task (singular) my complete attention because if I’m doing something else, I’m really only giving 50% of myself. It’s basic math! Someone famous (or infamous, I forget which) said something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he hates seeing people read a book while eating their lunch. His argument was basically that if they’re really reading the book, really absorbing it’s contents, then they’re not enjoying what they’re eating and vice versa. When I first read this statement it really bugged me because I was one of those people that would do exactly that. But then I put my experiment into action and I discovered that he was right – if I was doing one thing, I really wasn’t doing the other, not really. It’s the same way they say a true listener can’t be worried about what they’re going to add to the conversation. If you’re formulating your next witty comment, then you’ve already partially bailed on the convo.
Now I know there are plenty of people who would argue with me on this point but I urge them (and you) to put my theory into action. I challenge you to walk down the street without your cell phone attached to your ear. Focus on walking…it’s not that boring, I swear!
I challenge you to ride the trains and read a book without your iPod on.
I challenge you to eat your lunch today without checking your email, blackberry, or voicemail.
I challenge you to go to work and focus on one task at a time and I guarantee you’ll not only get better results but you’ll feel better inside. Because you’re not a Pentium 7, you’re a human being and I think sometimes we have to be reminded of that.
I’m not sure if employers of the world are ready for my revolution. I don’t recommend boasting to your next potential employer that you’re a unitasker. Not yet at least.
Computers, multitasking was your word, and I’m officially giving it back.