Monday, February 18, 2008

Multitasking

I hear a lot about the "new generation" being able to multitask far easier than past generations, primarily because they grow up doing it. I always used to have the TV or music on when I was doing homework, and I still have music on during the day when I am at work, but it tended to fade into the background when I focused on what I *should* have been doing.

Today I was looking at some code that I need to enhance and I had a podcast on (after last week's vacation, I am a little behind). I found I could only really concentrate on one or the other because the podcast was one where I might actually learn something (it wasn't just for entertainment).

So my question is, can young people now really focus on two tasks like that (working/studying and an informative podcast or TV show)? Or is the multitasking they are talking about studying and IMing friends? I can do that, by the way.

4 comments:

Urs Meli said...

Hi Don,
I think it's not "real" multitasking, as far as men are concerned :-) I think it is just the speed in taskswitching has increased...

Naibaf said...

Precise answer: No, they can not.

The multitasking they are talking about is IMing friends in 7 different IM windows using 4 different IM clients plus talking completely meaningless bullshit on the phone at the same time (usually talking to one of those IM partners anyway).

We could do that too, we're just not interested, I suppose, or have better things to do. OK, the things we were forced to accept as "better things" ...

Chris Blatnick said...

Actually, multitasking is a complete myth. The way our brains work, you can really only concentrate on one thing at a time. As Urs stated, what people think as "multitasking" is really just fast task switching, an incredibly mentally draining and inefficient process. The best way to get things done? Get rid of all distractions and focus on the task at hand! :-)

eSymbiant said...

Multitasking = Lack of focus.