Doing One Thing at a Time

desk - overload1 L

Once upheld as the ultimate form of productivity, multitasking has been getting a bad rap lately.  And rightfully so; research suggests that we tend to get work done about 30-50% more slowly when we multitask*.  Though the pitfalls of multitasking are well-known today, I always like to test things for myself.

Before I started working at Taiji Zen, I worked at Google facilitating classes related to positive psychology.  In one of the classes we debunked the multitasking myth with a fun exercise.  If you’re interested, you can try it now:

Timing yourself with a stopwatch, write the following word and number combination (below) first using Method 1 and then using Method 2.  Compare the difference in time between the two methods.

M U L T I T A S K I N G             I S             A           M Y T H

(If you don’t have a stopwatch handy, use this online version:

Method 1:

  1. Start your stopwatch
  2. First write ‘Multitasking is a myth,’ then write the numbers 1-19 below it.
  3. Record your time

Method 2:

  1. Start your stopwatch
  2. First write M, and then below it write 1; U then 2; L then 3; etc., until you’ve written the whole thing.
  3. Record your time

What times are you recording?  Post your results in the comments section!

*Source: American Psychological Association


About Eric

I'm a positive psychology nerd and I help develop the Daily Zen content for the Online Academy. I'm also an aspiring actor in China, and spend my free time getting beat up by the good guys in movies and TV shows.

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