Focusing vs Multi-tasking

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When Microsoft Windows came along we were introduced to the concept of multi-tasking. Computers are supposed to make our lives easier but more people are feeling stressed out by the pace of work/life. Now we are expected to multi-task like computers. Some job advertisements even state that candidates must be able to multi-task. People are proud to claim that they can multi-task while others who have "one-track minds" are quickly written off as incompetent.

However, some scientists say that our brains are not made for multi-tasking. E.g. if you are lifting weights you achieve better results by concentrating on lifting rather than watching what's on TV or chatting with a friend. For me, I always get a better timing when I run without music because I get to focus on my movements, breathing and awareness of time. So I turn off the music when I'm running for speed but turn it on or run with a friend when I'm running for distance. When I need to accomplish something challenging at work, I turn off the phone and resist checking my emails so that I can focus on the task at hand.

Multi-tasking prevents us from maximising our true potential. By trying to do too many things at the same time, we run the risk of becoming a jack of all trades but master of none. By expecting people to multi-task we are expecting them to behave like computers. Hardly any human being can process data faster than a supercomputer. Perhaps one day the computers will really take over the human race (like in the TV series, Battlestar Galactica, and movie, Terminator). Why bother to compete with computers? We'd better figure out what our competitive advantage over computers are and focus on those instead before the computers take over!

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