Starting as a technical term in computer science, "multitask" has entered people's daily lives, meaning "to execute a number of tasks concurrently."

Are you a multitasker? If yes, why do you multitask? People generally believe that doing all the tasks simultaneously can save much time for them so that they can finish their work faster.

However, new researches are telling a different story. Let's check it out!!

Are you a happy multitasker?


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National Geographic Podcast

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Multitaskers beware: haste makes waste.


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.

Boss: What?!

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.

Boss: ……

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…….

Boss: Pardon?

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.

Staff: ……

Boss: Alright then… Give me the sales report, NOW!!



multitask (v) 多工,同時進行多重任務
inordinately (adv) 無度地,非常地
producitivity (n) 生產力
access (v) 取得,使用(資料)
hamper (v) 阻礙
intense (adj) 極度的,強烈的
efficiency (n) 效率
crank (v) 曲折行進
overestimate (v) 高估
course (n) 過程,進程
keep track of (ph) 記錄
exponential (adj) 指數的
varying (adj) 不同的,有變化的
distraction (n) 分心,分散注意的事物
fashion (n) 方式
ubiquitious (adj) 到處存在的
back and forth (ph) 來來回回地
temptation (n) 誘惑
nano- (prefix) 十億分之一,極微小的
deranged (adj) 瘋狂的



KSL TV (有音檔):Multitasking May Make Things Worse

NY Times (需註冊會員):Slow Down, Brave Multitaskers, and Don't Read This in Traffic

Zenhabits:How NOT to Multitask—Work Simpler and Saner


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