Scenario 1: Mobile phone in one hand, a random movie playing in the background, the other hand busy breaking the chapatti into pieces.

Scenario 2: Virtual meeting going on, a different (and completely unrelated) Excel or PPT open, with you doing the occasional “hmmm”, or the more professional “yes I agree” every 10 minutes or so.

These two and many more such scenarios are part of our daily lives. Through the years we have (tried to) developed this special power called as “Multi-Tasking”. The advent of mobile phones, easier internet, and the ever-increasing distance between people (it was there in pre-COVID times!) has made us all become expert multi-taskers.

Or so we feel.

Even with billions of neurons and an unfathomable neural network, the brain cannot multi-task. Essentially, the brain “switches” tasks- our brain chooses which information to process. For example, while talking on the phone and working on the computer at the same time, you essentially miss out on what the other person was saying, as the brain prefers visual data more.

Due to this need to “multi-task”, our attention span has gone down drastically. A small experiment proved the point to me. I still very clearly remember all digits of the speed of light (299792458 m/s- showing off here), but ask me to memorize a new contact number now, my hands immediately reach out to my phone. Ironically, as soon as the daily chores begin (cutting the vegetables, cleaning, etc.)my hands again reach out to the phone- hoping to complete a new episode while going about the chores.

So essentially, the result is a complete lack of efficiency in both the things done-the vegetables don’t meet the WI (Wife index) of acceptance, while some of the good lines of the show are completely missed. My learning- very clearly is that there is nothing called multi-tasking.

What to do- you know the answer! Stop trying to multi-task and do one thing at a time. For the professionals, try writing a mail without looking at your phone. Try talking on your phone without looking at your mails. You will have shorter phone calls and an emptier inbox. For people at home, you will see a better and meaningful conversation with the other person or more time for yourself!

Draw your boundaries- trust me, you will be more efficient while doing single-tasking! We are programmed that way!

The author's views are personal only.

This article was originally published here:

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Salil Srivastava
Author: Salil Srivastava
In the profession called 'People' | Budding Writer

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