Multitasking – Friend or Foe?


As our lives just seem to keep getting more pressured we often resort to multitasking in both our personal and professional lives.  There are several reports now that seriously question of effectiveness of such behaviour.  I read recently that there were recommendations that we close our email when we are in the office and only check it twice per day.  How often are you derailed from a task by an email that pops up in your inbox?

The other day I had an afternoon with no particular things to do.  I thought of doing the ironing and contemplated taking it into the lounge and watching a DVD series.  I decided against this and opted to recline on the lounge and immerse myself completely and utterly in the mini-series, “All The Rivers Run”.  I was transported back to the early days of river transport on the Murray River.  I enjoyed the DVD at a level which simply would not have been possible if I was ironing at the same time.

2012-01-21 01Later in the afternoon I did the ironing .  I spent a little over an hour on it and completely finished a basketful of ironing.  I was able to do it quickly and efficiently by concentrating on the ironing.

2012-01-21 02I am going to consider other instances where multitasking is not really beneficial.  What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Multitasking – Friend or Foe?

  1. All the Rivers Run – one of my favourite books of all time! I’m glad you immersed yourself in the DVD rather than combining it with the ironing. I often have a Nigella Lawson cooking DVD playing while I’m in the kitchen, but then I have to watch it again later for the detail. I am definitely not able to focus fully on both.

    I find household tasks to be quite meditative, such as ironing, or vacuuming, or even pottering around decluttering. I like to alternate between concentrating on what I’m doing (being in the moment), and also doing some thinking.

    Another area where I don’t think multitasking works well is with eating. At work, I will often drink my cup of tea and eat my dark chocolate while continuing to work at my keyboard, and this dilutes the experience of both what I am working on, and my cup of tea! On my days at home, I like to sit down and savour a pot of tea, and the experience is much more pleasurable.

    • I definitely agree on your comments about eating. Eating while reading, watching TV or in front of the computer not only reduces your enjoyment of the foods but it is actually detrimental to your health. Our body does not sense that we have eaten enough and we end up over-eating. Much better to take a break and savour the food and drink.

  2. Love that show! I don’t do a lot of ironing but like to leave my ironing board where it is in front of the window and not think to much while I am doing it.

    • Gazing out the window while doing a less desirable task sounds like good planning!
      In a previous house, I had my ironing board in front of a wall which was blank – apart from a calendar. I would spend my time studying the calendar and planning future time – such as holidays. Whenever I said to The Duke, “I’ve been thinking………..” his response would be, “Oh, no…you’ve been ironing again!”

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