A Woman on A Mission

Let’s endure this journey called life!

The Myth of Multitasking October 5, 2008

Has this ever happened to you before? You are so sure of something in your mind, and then finally, you see it proven on paper? I had also known that people cannot multitask but was never able to prove it.

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”

Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.

What we can do, he said, is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed.

Don’t you think that this is just common sense?

“Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not,” Miller said.

“You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”

I have always thought that I was mildly retarded for not being able to multitask, but in all actuality, it was the ego of others making them out to be “better” (despite mistakes while “multitasking”) that make others with a swift ability to concentrate, less worthy.

People with sharp attention spans are not regarded in society.

“Think about writing an e-mail and talking on the phone at the same time. Those things are nearly impossible to do at the same time,” he said.

Actually, people DO do this. But… when they are “talking” to you on the phone, they aren’t listening to YOU. 😉 That email they are writing may be loaded with errors as well.

I know somebody who constantly blames not being able to multitask on their age. But this person blames everything on their age. It’s not an “age” thing.

Dominant — and, perhaps, too confident in our own skill. Studies show that we frequently overestimate our ability to handle multiple tasks.

For early humans, that sort of miscalculation could have meant becoming a tiger’s lunch. These days, the consequences are more likely to be stress, a blunder — or maybe a car crash.

Sadly, over-confident humans holding on to their egos for their lives are the majority. The ones who can admit to only being able to focus on one thing at a time, are in the minority. And with that said, it is why there are so many problems in the world.

Feel free to read more on this topic here.