34/365: Multitasking

Whenever employers ask me about my abilities to multitask, I’m always a bit conflicted between what I know I should say and what I actually want to say.
But an interview is no time to argue technicalities.

I truly believe that people don’t multitask and the book The Happiness Equation has confirmed it for me. Or at least allowed me to know that I’m not the only one who believes it to be so.

The human brain is very complex and capable of so much information, to think, to feel, to know, to act.
But I don’t think it can multitask. It is able to work efficiently to the point where it provides us with the illusion of multitasking.
We have one brain and we aren’t able to divide it into two.
Let me repeat, we have one brain.
One brain that works to help us function well in our every day lives.
And it has advanced to a point where we are able to switch between multiple tasks simultaneously, within nanoseconds that allows to our false belief of multitasking.
People say that they listen to music when they drive. But are they really listening?
No matter how many times you drive the same route and argue that you listen to music and believe that you are listening and driving at the same time, I won’t believe you.
You can say that driving becomes second nature that you don’t pay attention, you just do it and are able to listen to music, that’s not really multitasking. You’re only listening to music.
You are switching back and forth in nanoseconds between driving and listening to music.
You are not really doing neither things.
The moment you switch your focus to driving, during those seconds, you aren’t driving. But since the songs that you listen to are the songs that you know, your brain is able to fill in the of the lyric, the tune that you missed out on while you were focused on driving.
And when you are idling, you are more focused on listening to the music.
When you approach a light or a stop sign, you switch focus to ensure that it’s safe to continue and to make sure that you stop on time.
Music actually then is only background music.
It keeps your brain occupied during the moments where you are idled while driving.
In traffic.
At a light.
At a stop.
At the drive through.
Whatever it may be.

Even with school work, you don’t really multitask.
You don’t talk to people and listen to music at the same time, you can only focus on one.
You can’t write an e-mail and have a phone conversation.
You pay less attention to the person talking on the phone as you write your e-mail and tune back in when they stop talking, and then at that point you try to think back to what they said so that you can respond.

It’s like how those tests get you to focus on what is written and what is being said at the same time to test on your focus.
But it just gets jumbled up together.
It’s how you can’t really sing a song or deliver a speech while you type.
Everything we do requires our focus and the whole of our brain.
Therefore, we don’t actually multitask.
Yes, some may be better at keeping tabs on multiple tasks that they switch back and forth, but not multitask.
Also, it’s also more of a waste to not focus on one task at a time.
You lose that time between closing off one task and starting the other one multiple times, when you can just finish one and move on to reduce the time it takes to constantly switch focus.


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