Listen when you are listening to me

24Jan10

Can you multitask? Can you honestly do more than one thing at a time properly?

I can’t.

It has taken me a lifetime to realise this. Although I probably knew it when I was a baby. I’ve noticed that babies and very small children only do one thing at a time. Probably until they are old enough to observe their parents trying to do too many things at once.

I have become skilled in pretending to do more than one thing at once. I was even able to fool myself. But if I am honest, when I do more than one activity at the same time, I am not doing anything properly.

Based on personal experience I have developed a simple test of multitasking ability. You need an assistant to help with the test. Read something undemanding, like a newspaper, or a blog, whilst your assistant talks to you for 30 seconds. Then do something different for two minutes, like making a cup of tea for your assistant. Now try to recount to your assistant, the details of what you were reading and what they said to you.

If you are able to do this with close to 100% accuracy, congratulations! You can multitask.

If like me, you have grasped perhaps 70% or less of both tasks, congratulations! You can’t really multiitask, but you can probably bluff your way through life with some success.

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6 Responses to “Listen when you are listening to me”

  1. 1 Mrs R

    70%? In your dreams! If I talk to you when you’re reading the paper you don’t even notice!

  2. 2 Ann

    Oh come on, surely he can manage to go hm often until stymied by a question!

    • 5 Mrs R

      Ah, Alex has just finished reading the paper. Excuse me while I go and repeat myself…

  3. 6 Fiona

    I know that in our house my children very quickly caught on to the fact that if Dad is doing something they can say “Can I do …?” or “I am off to …” and get a “Yep. Fine” in reply. Whether they should have been allowed to do it or go there is not really applicable as they can then say that Dad gave them permission, even though he has no idea at all what he has agreed to, and in some cases can not even remember that he was asked the question


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