January 23: Singletasking
Commit to doing one task at a time today. Do you prefer to singletask or multitask? Tell us!
Singletasking by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler, 2015).
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Devora’s Zack’s, Singletasking, emphasizes the practice of approaching tasks sequentially, one-by-one, not simultaneously. Although this is an interesting read, I fear that in my particular case it may be a bit optimistic. While Singletasking makes sense, I wonder if it is a universal approach. For instance, I simply have a wide-array of interdisciplinary entities reporting to me; most of whom have different agendas. I applaud Zack’s evidence-based reference to science and human nature (e.g., reference to ancient “hunter-gathering days) as many studies have apparently proven that multitasking doesn’t work. I wonder then, how C-Level executives actually get things done. I suppose they delegate better than others? One look at the POTUS Daily Briefing (PDB) and it is reasonable to assume that the theory of Singletasking is not for everyone. No doubt, I am proof of the author’s inference that many multitaskers possess an “undisciplined cerebellum.” I definitely agree with Zack, “We are collectively losing the ability to sustain prolonged attention.” In fact, the story of Buddhists speaking of ‘monkey minds’, a mind that is unsettled and out of control, aptly underscores symptoms of multitasking. This is your mind when you multitask. A constantly confused and restless mind-set is a natural by-product of multitasking.
Nonetheless, I have taken some valuable lessons from this summary. Namely, “successful singletasking involves managing your thoughts, relationships and environment.”
As mentioned, to handle myriad responsibilities, people like myself often turn to multitasking. And as a result, multitasking is the “de facto response to life’s extreme busyness.” Sadly, this sums-up my current state-of-mind. Perhaps, Clustertasking will enhance my capacity to be an effective leader? Regardless, refreshing to read well researched summary.
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