Nov 112015
 
Let's see ... working at the computer. While on the phone. While listening to something. Good luck with that.

Let’s see … working at the computer. While on the phone. While listening to something. Good luck with that.

I think it was in the 1980s or 90s when McDonalds tried to expand its dinner menu. With pizza.

Many fast food aficionados were waiting in line for that first slice. Myself? Not so much, but that’s only because I’m something of a downer.

“Well,” I remember saying, “That’ll be two things it can’t do.”

When people talk of multitasking these days, I still think about McDonalds pizza. (If all this is making you hungry, you can still get McDonalds pizza in West Virginia and in Ohio.)

When people mention multitasking, I flash back to Mickey D’s pizza abortion. Trying to do too many things usually means nothing gets done. At least not well.

Is this what your brain becomes after multitasking enough?

Is this what your brain becomes after multitasking enough?

But in the day-job world, they like multitaskers. If you can do many things at once, so much the better. With today’s uncertain economy, employers want the workers to take on more tasks to offset labor costs and replace a few people. Without the bump in pay, of course.

If you’re the creative/artistic type, multitasking is also a big deal. So many irons in the fire, and we may be more prone to squirrel-chasing than the average person.

Here’s the deal. You’re really not multitasking. You’re switching back and forth from one task to another. You’re switching from email to writing, from Facebook to playing music, from taking that robo-call to getting back to work.

Okay. So what? Maybe this article from Fast Company gives you a clue:

“We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.”

Wow. That’s almost a half hour. Per switch. Considering the number of switches you’re asked to do in a day, how does anything get done?

It’s official. You interrupt me, I charge you for a half hour at my going rate. Time and a half for ticking me off.

Think a 9-to-5 boss will go for that?

How about that robo-caller?

Applications …

So how do I cope with those interruptions? I share my favorite method in my email newsletter, plus I have a whole bunch of linkage and further reading.

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