Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wanted: Those Mythical Multitasking Skills

online ads calling for multitasking

"Possess strong analytical, organizational, multitasking, problem solving, and time management skills." You see job listings with requirements like this all the time. I took that one from a job posting on Monster. Here's another: "The applicant must be poised, intelligent and capable of multitasking."

But as I've noted before, many experts say that multitasking doesn't really work. A recent NPR show focused on this; here are a few quotes.
"People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves," said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, "The brain is very good at deluding itself." ...

What we can do, he said, is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed. ...

"Think about writing an e-mail and talking on the phone at the same time. Those things are nearly impossible to do at the same time," he said.

"You cannot focus on one while doing the other. That's because of what's called interference between the two tasks," Miller said. "They both involve communicating via speech or the written word, and so there's a lot of conflict between the two of them."

Researchers say they can actually see the brain struggling.
To read the full article (or listen to the broadcast), check NPR's web site. [via Good Experience]

You might also enjoy Summer Beretsky's perspective on all those ads calling for multitasking.

Related Posts:
David Allen on Multitasking - and More
The Myth of Multitasking

[image from MySpace jobs]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ever work with little kids???