Day 19: So You Think You Can Multitask?

Once you get involved in the videoconference world of collaborations and projects, your work life speeds up tremendously. The more people you meet and the more connections that you begin making, the more you will do. Connections multiply quickly. Many things are grabbing at your attention: Twitter, Facebook, meetings, reports due, trainings to conduct, test calls, teaching, supporting teachers, etc. Add to that the 24 hour news cycle and your family and life becomes crazy busy.

If you’re interrupting your family life and you are consistently not finishing tasks and missing deadlines, turn off your email and read through the following articles to make your own action plan.

The Myth of Multitasking

Debunking The Myth of Multitasking from Dave Crenshaw. Crenshaw explains the difference between “backtasking” like watching TV while running on a treadmill vs. “switchtasking” like trying to talk on the phone at the same time as composing an email. He proposes the following as solutions to regaining your sanity.

  • Take control over technology—Every device you own has an OFF button. Don’t be afraid, turn them off so you can think. If you are having phantom beeps and vibrations from your phone/device, you have it on too much.
  • Schedule what you can schedule—Set regular times in the day to check your voicemail and email. Careful when you peek into the Inbox. It will suck you in and six hours later, you will still be at it.
  • Focus on the person—When you switchtask when dealing with a computer, you simply lose efficiency. But if you switchtask on a human being, you additionally damage a relationship. Be present, listen carefully, and make sure everything has been taken care of before moving on.

How To Chart for quality over quantity Check your email at 10:00, 1:00, and 4:00. No evening or weekend email.

The Myth of Multitasking The great info is in the comments. Explaining how subtasks make up a complex task and it is not really multitasking, but subtasking.

The $10 answer from Google about the research supporting NOT multitasking

What happens when you go from one project to 5 projects? Love this post from way back in 2006.

How Can This Improve Your Life

  1. Organize test calls at a specific time of day or day of the week.
  2. Standardize responses for test calls or other frequently performed emails.
  3. Understand background tasking vs. switchtasking. Quit switchtasking.

What Tools Can Help With Productivity


Before you groan about another login and password, go to their site and watch the intro videos. Here are some of the reasons I am using it.

  • Paul can use it on a Droid. Janine can use it on her Touch. Pretty much any device connected to the cloud.
  • You can tweet to Evernote!
    1. Follow @myen
    2. Link accounts
    3. Send public tweets, DMs, or Twitpics. Awesomeness!
  • Import Google Notebook into Evernote. Since Google killed Notebook, now I can too!
  • Share folders with friends!
  • No more emails to myself from myself!

RSS and iGoogle

I subscribe to Google alerts, wiki updates, Google forms, blog posts, etc via widgets in my iGoogle homepage with tabs for different projects and it is the dashboard of my digital life. Think of how to create an organized filter of relavent information.

Do you still contend that you can effectively multitask? What is your favorite productivity tool? Please share.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.