As a working professional I’m no stranger to the term multitasking. Now if you’re like me, you once wielded your proverbial sword high in the air, chest puffed out and proud of your unique ability to focus your energy on multiple projects throughout the day, as only a highly trained professional could do. Until that is, well…your lack of focus and minuscule productivity left your responsibilities incomplete, lacking substance, and packaged as if it was your high school senior project that you threw together two days before your presentation (yes, I know what that looks like).
As a young professional I was always taught that if an employee was capable of multitasking then they would be highly desired and marketable in the general workforce, and for many years it had seemed to be the case. The problem, however, is that multitasking is really nothing more than an illusion of productivity. For example, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell summed up multitasking as "mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more task simultaneously as effective as one" or according to Author Greg McKeown - Essentialism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - he states "Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
Now, before you send me an email to inform me of your ability to walk and chew gum while talking on your cell phone, just hear me out. Our wonderfully equipped human body is certainly capable of handling repetition and multiple minute tasks that really have no threshold for quality or performance, such as walking, eating, drinking, listening to the radio while jogging, talking on the phone and taking notes etc. However, when it comes to performance based tasks, especially those that are used to gauge our level of expertise, experience, or understanding, those require methodical consideration which comes from dedicated concentration and full mental engagement.
As we move forward into 2019 I encourage you to find what is valuable to you and focus your energy into cultivating it into the best it can be and let the "noise" of distraction pass you by.