I am not very good at it. As I write for this blog, my own blog, I have to also write for another blog, my school’s blog. I find that rather difficult. I tend to focus in on one thing and try to work it to completion before giving my attention to something else. Keeping several things going is difficult for me.
Recent brain studies show that we really cannot be multitaskers. Our brain, regardless of its complexity and trillions of networked connections, is oriented toward a focus. Eyes focus on a subject. Ears also focus on the same subject or issue. Smell, taste, and touch turns their attention toward the same issue. Our thoughts converge. How often have you been focused on something only to realize an ant has been biting you for some time? We really cannot be multitaskers in a true sense.
We can juggle. We can focus our attention on a wide scope, keeping several things in the air at once. But all we do is expand our focus on the larger picture, and to do that we have relinquished attention to details within that frame. The juggler’s attention is on the club he catches, and then shifts to the club he throws, and he gives only minimal attention to the club in flight. He cannot focus on any given set of details.
That is the way our brain works, and yet we all feel, even believe, that we can multitask. We drive and text. Our boss gives us three different tasks to accomplish at roughly the same time. We set ourselves up for some disappointment. We want to spend time with a hobby, and repairing the home, and spending time with a significant other. But can you really give your all to any one thing when you are that divided? I know I cannot.
Worse, I see where I fall short on something, and to fix it I want to devote more time and attention to it. But in doing that, the quality of another consideration drops. In turn, I notice that inadequacy and I shift my attention again. Much like the juggler that begins to loose it, I focus on a specific item, a specific club, I loose that general focus of the larger picture, and pretty soon it all falls apart. I end up with several so-so results, rather than one quality result, and I never enjoy that.
I am not a multitasker.