The Evils of Multi-tasking
The bug has bitten you. The bug of determination to clear every item on your to-do list. I can do it, you tell yourself. And then waste time giving yourself a much needed pep talk as you stare, wide eyed at your desk calendar with its myriad of dashed action items that so far have received no action…
I read somewhere recently that multi-tasking is one reason no one gets anything gone these days. We have to answer the phone on the first ring. We have to answer every e-mail that pops up (By the way, thank you, Outlook, for this stellar feature!) and we absolutely have to respond to every instant message, ping, poke, pop or piddle that occurs, because those are all just as important—if not more so—than your actual work assignments. (That was sarcasm people, in case I’m being too subtle.)
Apparently, in blatant contradiction to popular thought, it’s better to start and finish one thing, and then move on to the next task. I’ve put together a list of phrases to clue you in that you are abusing the premise of multi-tasking and heading for a vortex of many starts and no finishes. If you’ve ever uttered any of the following sentences, please ask your fellow CertMag discussion forum participants for tips on how to break your scattered addiction to unprofitable multi-tasking behavior:
I’ve been at work for nine-and-a-half hours, and I couldn’t show or tell you one solid task I’ve completed.
I’ve been at work all day and I have no idea what’s going on outside my e-mail.
Dude, I’ve IM’d so long I can no longer communicate in complete sentences.
(With regard to IM) Waiting for e-mails makes me crazy. DSL is way too slow. But I do like to check my 401K balance, blog and evaluate my to-do list while I wait for online responses.
(In the morning) Man. I have a lot to do today. (In the evening) Man. I have a lot to do today.
(In the morning) I’m going to go and smoke this cigarette, and when I come back I’ll have figured out (insert IT-related task here). Smoking always inspires me. (In the evening, three cigarettes later, your occasional smoke buddy asks what you’ve been up to at work) Smoking, man. You?