AEE 1242: Can You Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time?

Hi Lindsay

Are you a good multitasker?

What are some things you do to multitask?

Do you…

Talk on the phone or text while driving or walking? 

Listen to music while studying or doing work?

I am a person who needs to focus while I’m working. I cannot listen to music for sure. Anyway, you sent me a really interesting article from the NY Times

The High Price of Multitasking

We all do it. The question is how.

By Daniel T Willingham, 7/14/2019

We are going to discuss this article:

This article talks about how multitasking is pretty tough. It discusses areas such as driving, studying, and doing work. There is a lot of talk about cell phones!

  • Willingham talks about how multitasking isn’t REALLY multitasking -you change off between two things you are doing. He does say it is ok if there is space between the things being done–and you know this ahead of time. He mentions that driving is NOT one of these things because you do NOT know ahead of time what the interruptions may be
  • People multitask for different reasons -makes things more interesting and more efficient are some of them
  • People may listen to music while working because even if they don’t work as well they will enjoy it more–better than doing nothing

He gives 3 main tips/thoughts:

  1. You cannot produce two things at once–there is no benefit to this, even if the person enjoys it
  2. You can decide if you want to multitask but you have to evaluate what would happen if each task wasn’t done to its full potential – he talks about driving
  3. You can motivate yourself in other ways- he talks about taking breaks

A few phrases/words about multitasking

-walk and chew gum at the same time

To say you can do two things at once “I really think we can watch this show while we do our work. We can walk and chew gum at the same time!”

-juggle – “I can’t juggle all these tasks. It’s too much at once.”

-balance – “I can balance all these tasks–I just have to focus and take my time.”

-too many things up in the air – “I have too many things up in the air right now. Can I start that other project later?”

Takeaway: Do you multitask? How does this impact your life? Are you safe about multitasking? Would you be more productive if you did less multitasking? We may think we are doing a good job multitasking but are we really…

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