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Monday, September 7, 2015

Are you Julius Caesar?

Are you Julius Caesar?


Julius Caesar was a soldier, a politician, a strategist, an orator and an author. He could dictate four letters while riding on horseback and listening to his soldier's report.


In our world, that would equal typing four emails at the same time on your mobile phone while driving and listening to your secretary telling you the schedule for today.

Ever tried to type an email while someone is talking to you and found you have written out what they are saying? If yes, you've felt what havoc multitasking can wreak with your brain.

Are we all so multi-faceted?


Mission impossible


Scientists have shown that multitasking is actually impossible. What is possible is the ability to quickly refocus from one task to another, creating the impression that we’re “working on two things at the same time”.
We’re not.


Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, said: "People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves. The brain is very good at deluding itself." He explains that the brain can switch between tasks fairly quickly, creating the delusion that we're doing several things at once. This is impossible, because similar tasks require the attention and work of the same part of the brain.

Basically we’re working on one thing, switching to another one, back and forth, making our brain go haywire trying to keep track of what we’re on at this particular moment.
So isn’t it better to just do one thing well, and then move to the next task?


What does science say?


Gary Keller, American author and real-estate entrepreneur, states that “You can do two things at once, but you can't focus effectively on two things at once.”


Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D., in her book 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People, reveals that “You can only conduct one mental activity at a time.”

And an anonymous source tells us that “Multitasking is the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”


Every rule has a "but"


A possible exception is when we sing while taking a shower. We’ve all taken showers multiple times, and our body knows how to do it without making the brain think about it. So our brain focuses on a mental task - singing - and leaves the routine physical task to our body. The same goes for running and listening to music, drinking a latte while scrolling through your newsfeed etc.


If you're the boss


When employers expect their workers to multitask, they’re actually doing themselves a bad turn. Allowing an employee to focus on just one thing at any given moment will increase productivity and lessen the amount of time needed to complete the task.


Do one thing and do it well


That's why our team has decided that in Projects a user can only mark one task “in progress” at a time - we want to help you get your tasks done better and faster. The app keeps your subconscious multitasker at bay, and lets you focus on getting work done more efficiently.



Takeaways:


  • Multitasking is a productivity killer. Doing one thing at a time will get you to your goal faster.
  • Our brain cannot multitask. It can, however, switch from one task to another quite quickly, tricking us into believing that we're doing several things at once.
  • Don't ask your employees to multitask - this will result in a decrease in productivity.


Happy not-multitasking!