People say pot-smokers are lazy. I disagree; I’m a multitasking pot-smoker: just the other day I was walking down the street, I was putting eye drops in my eyes, I was talking on my cell phone, and I was getting hit by a car.
I don’t want to post all the research around the absurdity of multitasking. I’ll give you a couple of salient bullet points (everyone loves bullet points!):
- Psychology Today – Neuroscience tells us that the brain does not do multiple tasks simultaneously.
- The brain stops and then starts. This allows us to switch tasks quickly which are often disguised as simultaneously.
- This stop and start does not save us time, in fact, it costs us time and energy.
- Here’s why; Tasks quite often use different parts of the brain. The anterior part of the brain is goal/intent-oriented; “I want a cookie.” The brain has to switch to the pre-frontal cortex to get your hand on that Oreo. This takes time and energy.
- A study at Stanford showed when testing people who described themselves as expert multitaskers that:
- They made more mistakes
- They remembered poorly
- They took 50% longer to interpret the ideas presented them.
That’s enough to help you stop trying to do everything or even two things at once. It makes your work suck! Instead become a great Intentional Tasker.
This morning I was doing, what at Creative Ventures we call, IMAGE FARMING. I was searching through our gigantic inventory of images to find just the right graphic to go with the idea I was working on. This is exhausting for your eyes and imagination. I INTENTIONALLY stop, pick up my guitar and work on a new song for a couple of minutes. I then return to the task. I am focused on the project in front of me, but recognize when I need an attention break.
I turn off my distractions. NO EMAIL. NO PHONE. They can wait until I finish my deep work. I’m not waiting for a kidney transplant! T. S. Elliot said, “you’re distracted from distractions by distractions.”
We need to get some stuff done and we have short time windows. Stop doing a bunch of things and focus on one thing. Make it good. The other stuff will wait.
The secret to multitasking is that it isn’t actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organization.