Manditory Multitasking

October 17, 2006 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Attention Management | 1 Comment

As I write this blog post, I am creating a survey in SurveyMonkey in another browser tab.  SurveyMonkey seems to be going slowly for me, so after each selection of a new question type or after entering a question, it goes out to the server for about 15-60 seconds.

I am not a very patient individual, but I’ve learned to be patient through the joys of Continuous Partial Attention (see my previous post).  I have a few tasks going at once and remember to check back every now and then to advance my survey.

I have been trained to work this way over years of dealing with computers, ever since I worked as a teenager at a CPA firm in the 80’s.  Calculating and printing a set of financial reports would take the computer about 15 minutes, during which I took care of all the other senseless tasks I wanted to do such as getting a Pepsi, playing wastebasketball, or reading the paper.  Since then, as fast as computers have become, there are continually tasks that give me time to do other things.  And if I didn’t, I’d go nuts staring at the screen waiting for it to come up.

As I mentioned in my previous post,  it is clear to me that life today requires multi-tasking and occasional (but not continuous) partial attention.  The key is being able to turn it on and off and not losing the ability to give your undivided attention when it is needed.

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  1. […] to dry – enables both tasks to be completed more effectively. I did a blog entry on “Mandatory Multitasking” back in 2006 on this multitasking […]


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