Are you able to do multitasking?

Have you ever found yourself juggling multiple tasks, thinking you multitask, and being productive?

Let’s delve into the myth of multitasking and its impact on productivity. Many of us grew up surrounded by computers, and we all made an analogy between the CPU and our brain at some point.

However, the reality is that our brain is not a multi-core CPU capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously. If we were to draw a comparison, our brain would be more like a single-core CPU, limited in its ability to process tasks in parallel.

I’ve seen many people with tens of open tabs in the navigator, the email app, the Excel sheet, and its two monitors set up on the desktop, and that produces the impression that this person is very busy and productive.

But you know what?

It is not.

Publilius Syrus, the Roman philosopher, once said,

“to do two things at once is to do neither.”

And that’s the truth.

When you think you are multitasking, you are task-switching. Switching from one task to another has a cost. Sometimes, this cost is higher than the task value. You keep the context in your memory when moving from one task to another. I know it’s hard to believe, but I can show you a simple exercise that will clarify it and leave no doubt.

Take a paper and a pen and write a horizontal line on it. Now, take your phone or a watch to measure the time you spend.

The first part of the exercise is to write above the line the sentence:

“What I do is not multitasking.”

Below the line, the sequence of numbers:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 … 29

I should look like this.

What I do is not multitasking.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 … 29

First, see how long it takes to write a number after each letter or space, such as W—1, h—2, etc.

After that, do it, but write the sentence and then the numbers first, and check what happened.

If you are like most people, the first version will take double the time as the second version. Yours are the conclusions.

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