Hi everybody, this is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you.
I often hear people say they are multitaskers. Often, these people don’t pay attention or aren’t fully present. What are your thoughts about multitasking?
There is some really interesting research on men and women and their ability to multitask. I won’t ruin the end of the movie for you… but I would just say some genders are better at it than others and I would not be one of those genders.
So that’s one thing, but let me say this about multitaskers. For some of us, multitasking is just a way to justify our suppressed ADD. Let me give you an example of somebody I was at dinner with back in February or January of 2020. We were at a restaurant having a conversation, and they were on their phone. They would look down and scroll on their phone occasionally, and I said “What are you doing?” They said they were trying to multitask so that they didn’t have to be distracted during the meal. But they were already distracted during the meal…
Here’s how I look at it. If you are interacting with another human being then do not multitask. If you are interacting with nuclear fusion or fission or whatever it is then do not multitask. If you are interacting with plutonium, do not multitask. If you are flying an aircraft, do not multitask. If you are doing something where the stakes are really high, even if you’re not interacting with another human being, don’t multitask! Here’s why: it’s rude, and you’re probably going to make mistakes.
Now I will tell you that focus is very difficult. It’s more and more difficult all the time because we have phones, lights, bells, all those kinds of things. So, are there times when you might have to do a couple of tasks simultaneously? Like, I’m looking at the camera, talking to the team and also answering a question – that’s not multitasking, that’s doing multiple things in alignment with the same task. But if I’m loading the dishwasher, checking my email and trying to have a conversation with you… that’s multitasking. If you and I are supposed to have lunch to talk about an issue or a contract or a project and you’re on your phone and staring over my shoulder at the people behind me, then that’s just rude.
So that’s my feelings. If you have to do multiple things to get something done, then that’s aligned. But if you’re multitasking, it’s not going to work.
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