Multitasking is crap. It is better to concentrate fully on one task at one time. By doing so, fewer mistakes are made and a little pride can be taken in a single job well done instead of pride being misplaced in creating an air of manic busyness.
Multitasking is actually a computing term denoting the ability for one server computer to look after multiple other terminals at the same time. But we’re not computers: we’re human beings and our work aught to be more organic, more considered and less complex.
Lets slow down an address one task at a time. This is a far more simple approach to work than multitasking. We’re even encouraged to multitask in our leisure lives. People on TV, when in relaxation mode, usually listen to music and read books at the same time. Captain Picard likes to listen to opera and read Shakespeare simultaneously. Frasier and Niles drink coffee as they go. Superman dashes all over Metropolis with four rescue missions on his mind at the exact same time, while also hobnobbing at a Daily Planet cocktail party. Maybe the Man of Steel can afford to multitask but your work probably doesn’t involve saving the planet from criminal geniuses and you don’t have alien superpowers working in your favour.
A pertinent symbol of multitasking is a takeout coffee cup with a plastic lid. They are designed so that you can drink your latte while dashing from one meeting to another, or so that you can knock back your Americano as you tap away at the monthly progress report. Would it not be better to slow down? Take half an hour (Hell, take an hour) to go to a coffee shop and enjoy your beverage properly and in a real cup. You’ll feel better for it. Write your report later and give it your full attention. Multitasking requires more energy than tackling one job at a time. With multitasking, you have to plan; you have to think ahead; you’re flying by the seat of your pants. It is complicated. I doubt it’s healthy either since you’re forced to cut back on those little sub-activities that make you human: daydreaming for instance or eating properly.
What happens when you plug four separate devices (an iPod; an internet connection; a Dictaphone and a digital camera) into a computer? It slows down. It crashes. It burns out.
Take one thing at a time.