How good are you at multi-tasking?

The word “multitasking” first came up in 1965, with reference to using a single computer to simultaneously carry out two or more jobs. As this became the talk of the town, it also started getting used in context of human affairs.

Being a multitasker became a point of pride for many, implying mental agility and exemplary productivity. While, a few struggled with it.

Researchers conducted tons of experiments to evaluate if it was actually working to boost productivity of people. Though, they discounted the fact if human brain was really wired for all this.

I read a bunch of articles which clearly states that multi-tasking is a myth and has been backed up by research and statistics. Is it really?

In all this zing-bang, the essence of parallel tasking took a back seat. The idea was to do more in less time, rather testing the capability of brain to do all at once.

Each brain is wired differently and perceives things in a different way. As you train your brain to do a task a certain way, it would start getting better at it.

Remember 3 idiots, how virus had trained his mind to write from both his hands.

Also, multi-tasking can be effective or not, basis the types of tasks that you choose to do together. We only have 24 hours in a day, and tons of things to cope up with. We need to find ways to use our time wisely. These thoughts wandered in my head for a while, only to come up with a few types of multi tasking techniques that would work this well.

Types of multi-tasking

By definition there are two types of multitasking — concurrent multitasking, in which you do two or more activities at the same time (talking on the phone while driving) and serial multitasking, in which you switch rapidly between tasks (preparing your next meeting and answering an email, being interrupted by a colleague, checking social media). Here are a few types segregated basis the types of tasks that can be clubbed together.

  1. Batch Tasking. My mother-in-law is a huge fan of this one. She is an amazing cook and over the years she has figured out ways to optimize time and resources. Her secret to jhatpat khana is to work in batches. Every batch comprises of one cooking technique and is applied to all the dishes that she intends to make. That way she is prepping for all the dishes at the same time by doing one thing at a time. Say, all the boiling will happen at once, or seasoning and garnishing would be done together.
  2. Block Tasking. This works similar to classrooms. An hour for each subject. If something is midway, it stays that way till the next class. You can create categories of tasks and use each block for one category of tasks.
  3. Peeking over the block. In this method you see every task into three chunks, start, middle and end. Middle is where all the focus lies. You can work on two task simultaneously with one in start and another in end. That way you are peeking over the end of the first while starting a new one.
  4. Mindful over mindless. You could club a mindful and a mindless task together. You start both of them together, focus on one which needs your attention and the mindless runs on auto-pilot.
  5. Tasking a break. You schedule breaks in between your task and use those breaks to switch tasks and give a break to the monotony. This way you club your Guliver and Liliput tasks together. For e.g. you put your platter in the microwave to get your food heated and while the clock is ticking try running a cleaning sprint or a dishwasher offload sprint.
  6. Loading it off. You could offload a set of tasks while you are focussing on one. There will be some progress till you finish off this one.

Conclusively, multi-tasking is all about planning and strategizing your tasks well to optimize the time in hand against the outcomes.

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