Monday, October 26th, 2015

Thoughts On Multitasking

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I have blogged about multitasking a few times in the past. I keep writing about it because more and more studies tell us about the negatives associated with it. I keep writing about it because so many people working inside CPA firms believe that the answer to efficiency is to multitask.

There is a good article written by Courtney E. Martin about the Myth of Multitasking. Here are some snippets for you to ponder when dealing with multitasking for yourself and those you mentor:

  • At the end of a day spent flitting around the Internet without committing to one task for an extended period of time, I often feel jittery, as if I’ve been throwing back espressos on an empty stomach. In fact, according to Daniel J. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, multitasking actually creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop “effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.”
  • Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell called multitasking “mythical,” and Levitin takes it a step further, describing it as “a powerful and diabolical illusion.” Study and study after study shows that multitasking is not just unhealthy and unsatisfying, but ineffective.
  • Before reading up on this literature, I have to admit, I thought multitasking was exhausting, but mostly benevolent — like that very high-energy friend that you can’t be around all the time, but in smaller doses, can be fun.
  • Nothing else. You can keep your Wi-Fi. You can keep your productivity experts. I’ll take flow over flitting any day.

In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

  • "It is by being fully involved with every detail of our lives, whether good or bad, that we find happiness, not by trying to look for it directly."
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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