Multitasking should be a swear word. Or at least preceded by a swear word whenever it is used. Effing multitasking.
My favorite thing about multitasking is that it has become a desired strength or skill, especially on the job but also in our personal lives.
Though I think what people really mean when they say multitasking (performing multiple things at the same time) is what I like to call multifracturing: performing multiple tasks in quick succession in a linear fashion, jumping quickly from task to task.
Management actually sets up environments where this multifracturing is the norm. And when the norm doesn’t produce the desired level of multifracturing, they introduce artificial stress into the environment to make sure it happens. Drop that, pick up this, stop this, start that, emergency here, emergency there. Talk about self-inflicted stress.
If you went to your psychologist and described this behavior they would diagnose you with ADHD and prescribe you drugs. How scary is that? Management actually induces ADHD on you and thinks it’s a good thing.
I know people who wear this mutifracturing as a badge of honor, probably because management rewards them for it. But there is no honor on inflicting stress and thus damage upon yourself, however subtle it may be.
Of course the behavior carries over into our personal lives. And technology is here to aid you on not focusing on any one thing too long. You know what I’m talking about. It’s almost as if we have a phobia of focusing. A fear of being alone with our activity or thoughts.
It’s not surprising that there is a new trend on the virtue of mindfulness (I guess we were afraid to call it being focused). Meditation and mind relaxation are great things. I totally recommend them in some fashion. They can help put you in control of your mind, reduce stress, increase productivity and elevate contentedness. There are lot of good resources out there on this.
But is some mediation or mindfulness in these small doses enough when you spend the rest of your day intentionally being non-focused (smart phones obsession) or having management force multifracturing on you? It’s like drinking a protein shake once a week for its health benefits and then eating lunch at McDonalds the rest of the week.
Want to reduce the self-inflicted or management inflicted ADHD? Change the environment, the parameters, the context. Remove as much multifracturing as possible. It’s like changing or creating a new habit. You have to work at it.
There are lots of good resources on changing habits.
One good one is The Power of Habit. http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Habit-What-Business/dp/1400069289/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383757915&sr=8-1&keywords=power+of+habit
Just combine two cups of habit change with a few dashes of mindfulness and you are on your way.