I was watching one of the morning shows today when the expert they'd brought in practically argued with the host about the impossibility of multi-tasking.
I jumped right out of my chair; I wanted to argue face-to-face with the "expert."
You can multi-task and be efficient. It is completely possible. I do it all the time. Just because the expert on the morning show can't do it, it doesn't mean other people can't.
To multi-task effectively, though, you have to train your brain. I've done that (albeit unconsciously), and I bet there are many people reading this article who have as well. I choose the tasks I am multi-tasking carefully, though, as I choose not to text and drive at the same time as I don't believe that I can do those tasks simultaneously. I can choose a moderate to high-level task with a low level task and be successful.
I can organize my desk while speaking with a client on the phone. I can skim through my email (and potentially even send out a quick response) during a conference call. I can make dinner while watching the news. I can drive while having a hands-free phone call and not have an accident or be too distracted to be a safe driver. I can surf the Internet while watching TV. I can respond to a text while I'm having a conversation with you. I can briefly look at my email while sitting in an executive meeting.
In each of these cases, the quality of my work doesn't suffer. My efficiency doesn't suffer. And I get more accomplished.
I really can do two things at once and not waste one second of time. In fact, on the contrary, I actually work faster and more efficiently when I am multi-tasking.
So many times we hear that when young people are on their cell phone they are not paying attention to what their parents are saying. I disagree. Young people today have taught themselves to do two things at once. If they aren't listening, it is often by choice, not capability.
I am smart about the choices I make when I choose to multi-task. I'm cautious of getting too engrossed in one task at the expense of another task.
As I'm typing this article, I'm listening to the airline announcements for my flight. And neither task is suffering.
Yes, Virginia, contrary to what an "expert" on a morning show may tell you, you can multi-task effectively.
Do you think you can effectively multi-task? Vote here: