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Dr sasha nair

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Is Multi-tasking really efficient?

Time is precious and I like to squeeze my money’s worth out of every second. Stacking the dishwasher with one ear plugged into my online course, while supervising the little boy eating dinner, waiting for the laundry cycle to go through and firing up the computer for an evening’s work.  Don’t tell me multi-tasking isn’t efficient!

But that’s what performance experts are saying now.  The thing is we can only make decisions about one thing at a time.  Decisions require the undivided attention of our conscious mind.

So anything that demands two decisions at a time (like operating a cellphone while driving) actually requires us to interrupt one decision-making process to attend to the other and is therefore may not the most conducive to efficiency (or safety).

Some people minimise decision-making to the extreme to free-up their mind to do bigger things.  That’s why Mark Zuckerberg wears a grey T-shirt every day, and why neuroscientist Moran Cerf always picks the second item on the specials menu at a restaurant.

Personally, I feel that’s taking it a bit far.  Ok, I have been known to wear the same outfit 3 days in a row, albeit with the cardigan inside out on the third day.  But I don’t want to chew through a platter of escargots just to have avoided a choice.

Anyway, its food for thought right?

Sometimes “multi-tasking” is unavoidable (#oncallshifts #anyjobatthebeckandcallofmany) but for now, where possible:

–  I’ll try to focus on one task at a time

-And when multi-tasking, I’ll stick to one thing that requires conscious thought.  The other thing had better be zombie-laundry-folding or listening to a speech by Mr Trump.

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