Thursday, May 17, 2007

Enough Already! Rant Alert!

Heaven help me; I am NEVER going to get anything finished at the rate I'm going. I came back from my trip to three HUGE tubs of mail, God knows how many emails, an unfinished web site redesign, and bunches and bunches and bunches of other stuff. Now days and days have gone by, and I not only haven't caught up, I'm even more behind!

Why?

Well, it could be one of two things:

1. I'm an idiot (probable).

2. I've had it with multi-tasking!

Thanks to a post by Slow Leadership, I'm thinking the answer is number 2. See what I mean? (emphasis mine)

Whatever amazing multi-tasking powers you believe you have, the facts are plain and irrefutable. Your brain isn’t able to switch back and forth between even moderately complex or demanding tasks without a major loss in speed, accuracy, and quality of processing. You may think otherwise, but it’s a myth. With complicated tasks, no one is able to overcome the inherent limitations of the human brain for processing large amounts of information simultaneously—i.e. multitasking. It just can’t be done, any more than a human being is ever going to be able to fly by flapping his or her arms. We aren’t built that way.


Oh boy; do I ever relate to that.

When a person continually switches between tasks, the brain wastes a great deal of time and energy clearing out the processing rules for the previous task and orienting itself to the new one—only to go through the whole cycle again when the first task is back in focus. Activating and completing these procedures wastes copious amounts of time. The research indicates continually switching between tasks can make completion take four times longer, due to the time needed to keep switching mental gears.

David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, says:

"The toll in terms of slowdown is extremely large—amazingly so."

The quality of your work is severely diminished when trying to do even two tasks simultaneously. The more the tasks differ from one another in complexity and familiarity, the greater the effect on time and quality.

With as many projects as I'm juggling, it's no wonder I seem to get nothing done. I think I'm spending more time switching between them than I am by actually doing something productive. Ye gods; it has to stop!

Multi-tasking makes you less productive, wastes your time, and lowers the quality of what you do. It increases your likelihood of mistakes, physical or verbal. Used habitually, it gradually prevents you from concentrating effectively even if you want to. It’s a very poor strategy for anyone trying to cope with demanding work.

That about covers it.

SO, to avoid the need for further multi-tasking right now:

  • If I owe you an email, I'm sorry. I swear to God. I promise I'll get to as soon as possible.
  • If you're pissed off at me for not doing/getting/whatevering something, mea culpa.
  • If you think I'm an asshole, well, what can I say? You're probably right.
  • If you want me to do something, for the sweet love of God, please try to find someone else to do it.

OK; my rant is nearly over for now. If you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I've decided to go to bed and stay there!!!!




2 comments:

Gillian said...

When you re-remerge to a mroe normal existence, give me a hoy. Till then I'll just assume that you are snowed under and that an email will be nothing more than yet another thing to attend to. And that if you *really* want to talk to me, you'll get in touch.

Get through the next 8 weeks sanely!

Taminator said...

Oh my God, you sound like me! Too much crap to do, the mind's all over the place, and most of it is stuff I'd rather leave in the dust. Too bad if I'm a bitch these days. :)

Tammy