The correct way to multi-task.

Let’s talk about multitasking and the correct form of doing it.
The definition “a person’s or product’s ability to do more than one thing at a time” (source) is not specific about the time span.
Most people when they hear “multitasking” think about doing two or more things at the same time in a short time span.
Something like “I’m watching move and ironing clothes at the same time.”
But what about long-time multitasking? Like over a few years?

Too be honest this whole post was inspired by one talk by Tim Harford.

This one right here:


TLDW (too long didn’t watch):

The biggest geniuses of our world were (and are) using technic called “slow-motion multitask”. Basically, if they meet roadblocks on their plans they change topics and task freely as they want to. This allows them to come back with a fresh mind to tackle the problem from a different perspective.

So it appears that “slow-motion multitasking” is awesome for creativity and productivity. But do we have examples of this type of mindset on market right now? Like is there any company that works that way and allows their employees to freely choose tasks they want to tackle at any moment?

In the gaming industry from the biggest companies, there is only one that applies this mentality. VALVE
They even state that as the main company structure in their Handbook for New Employees.
This source states that the company’s net worth is around 8 billions so this method works for them.

So there are (at least) 2 types of multitasking. One is amazing but what about short-term multitask?

This one is basically rapidly changing your focus from one thing to another (like doing homework while watching a video or writing script and chatting with friends).

So I needed to go deeper and find out what’s good, what’s bad. How to do that correctly to be most productive, etc.

Up to this point, I believed that focusing on 2 things at the same time is a great trait and helps me do things faster and better as I did them “at the same time”.
Sadly after I dug deeper I found this article that states that this type of “multitasking” is in most cases is really not effective as only 2.5% of people can do this correctly without any performance loss. Am I in the 2.5%? I doubt it.
Of course, I had to find out if doing 2 different tasks at the same time (like typing code and chatting with friends) was actually hindering my performance. So I found another article that analyzed this topic. And yes… It’s actually really bad and “the human mind and brain lack the architecture to perform two or more tasks simultaneously”.

So basically… science says that you should focus on one task at the same time as other things will only count as a distraction for what you are doing.

My conclusion:

Having a few different “open” projects to tackle is something that can boost productivity and is better than focusing on a single project (until it’s finished) as it allows you to clear your mind and train brain for different subjects.

My current way of doing things (important work AND something else at the same time) is actually hindering my performance. I need to change that to be more single-focused at any given moment. I’ll need to work hard to change that…

I hope that this time I gave you some new informations and this will help you grow as a person. Also, I’ll make new content sooner for future releases.

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