Boss: Where is the sales report for last month? I told you to hand it in no later than Monday, and it's already Tuesday now!
Staff: Oh, I am terribly sorry. I have been working on the project that you want me to present in the department meeting this Thursday.
Boss: Of course I know that. But there's no excuse for unfinished work. Couldn't you just multitask? Improve your productivity! And efficiency!
Staff: No, I can't do that. Carrying on several duties at the same time will only reduce my productivity and hamper my efficiency.
Staff: Yes, according to recent studies, people are all mistaken about the myth of multitasking. Most people overestimate their own ability to keep track of multiple threads of activity. The fact is, it takes more time than we suppose for our brains to switch attention from one task to another, especially when we do so repeatedly between tasks of varying complexity and familiarity. In this case, haste makes waste.
Staff: Amazing, eh? The problem lies in thinking that human brains work in a similar fashion to a computer. Any typical PC can jump back and forth quickly between running tasks in mere nanoseconds. The human brain, however, can't do the same thing. It's true that we have an inordinately large amount of information in our heads, but it takes much longer time to access what we really need for the task at hand. And this process requires an intense concentration that can be easily broken. So…
Boss: So what's your point?
Staff: My point is, multitasking is never as efficient as focusing on one task. So I just tell myself to curb the multitasking behavior, complete one task first, and move on to the next. By doing so, I'll crank through my Next Actions list more easily.
Boss: And have you cranked through it yet?
Staff: Unfortunately, not. You know, over the course of the last century, there's been an exponential explosion of available information.
Boss: So what?
Staff: Therefore, we are living in an age of multi-distraction. Distractions like phone calls, emails, and instant messages are so ubiquitous that the temptation becomes overwhelming. Many a time I can't help stray off to reply to the messages or browse news, sports, or entertainment Web sites. Oh, and don't forget online shopping…….
Staff: Oh my God! What have I said? I can't remember anything. I am suddenly mentally deranged…
Boss: Don't worry, I've heard everything. Yes, online shopping. I won't forget that.
Boss: Alright then… Give me the sales report, NOW!!