I Am Great At Multitasking… Or Am I?

ksbpulseUncategorized2 Comments

I’m good at walking.  Assuming I started walking around 12 months of age, now I am 672 months of age, and guessing I have averaged a conservative 7,500 steps per day, that equates to 1,836,862,500 steps.

I have walking down.

I’m good at sending and receiving email.  Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in 1971.  Let’s assume that I was slow to catch on and didn’t launch my first email until 20 years later.  Assuming I have sent or received 100 emails per five-day week since 1991 that’s 702,000 emails. And that’s not even counting weekends.

I have email down.

And I am especially good at multitasking.  I can be in my office, listening to a team member describe an excellent idea to serve our patients, all while sneaking a look at my email and checking on the Cubs score on my cell phone.

I have multitasking down.

Or do I?

According to Friederike Fabritius and Hans Hageman in their book “The Leading Brain” multitasking can make tasks take 50 percent longer and with 50 percent more mistakes.  The authors go on to say “most of us grossly overestimate what we are able to do while we’re multitasking.  But study after study proves that they were fundamentally – and sometimes fatally – mistaken.  People who rated themselves expert multitaskers were actually really bad at it.”  Fabritius and Hageman conclude by stating “habitual multitaskers are suckers for irrelevancy”.

And it’s not fair to the human being on the other side.

The image on this page was taken in South America.  KSB team members Marissa Frost and Luke Herbert are leading the way down a path.  The spacing of the stones and the severity of the grade required my undivided attention.

I was present.

The situation represented something of an “aha moment” for me, a continent away, at a time that did not feel like a teachable moment.

That walk resulted in the formation of a personal mission statement that reads “Make the time people spend with me the best part of their day.  Be positive, Be Present, and Be Grateful”.

I still fail at delivering on this statement the majority of the time, but I am succeeding more often.

I don’t have it down.  However, I am enjoying the journey.

2 Comments on “I Am Great At Multitasking… Or Am I?”

  1. This is a great reflection and very true. We want to accomplish a lot in a day and multitasking seems to be the way we feel we can get things done. When we look back at what we accomplished in a day it sometimes appears to be very little. I agree we could all follow your personal mission statement. Enjoy people, stop what you are doing for a moment, get the most out of their company and conversation.

  2. I love your personal mission statement: “Make the time people spend with me the best part of their day. Be positive, Be Present, and Be Grateful”. I see applications for this with the patients we care for, the families we love and the co-workers we respect. I am going to jump on board and try this too!!

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