Just say “no” to multi-tasking

Last week I saw a musician playing the violin while hula hooping on a downtown corner. I didn’t think, “oh, wow. How cool.” I thought instead, “how sad. Isn’t it enough to play the violin well anymore?”

Multi-tasking seems so sexy and hard. Look at me! I’m doing ten things all at once! I’m so efficient and amazing! But research shows that multi-tasking really just makes you slower at completing tasks and more prone to making mistakes. Texting while driving can kill. Looking at Yelp reviews on your phone while walking can cause you to trip. Emailing while talking to someone else on the phone can cause you to send the message to the wrong person. The mistakes are all relative, but that doesn’t mean multi-tasking is a good idea.

Lately I’ve been juggling a lot. I’d love to say that it’s been working for me, but I’ve been honestly doing none of it well. My latest manuscript isn’t finished. My desk is a mess. I don’t work out everyday. I have a lot of weeds in my garden. I don’t always eat as healthy as I plan to. I don’t see my friends as often as I’d like. I don’t always get enough sleep… I try to keep everything “in balance,” as if that’s a thing anyone can actually do. We all make plans and then life happens.

But I hope when my book is done (and is good) that no one expects me to juggle at my readings. Or make french pastries for everyone. Or tweet in verse. Or dress like I’m going to the Oscars. Because honestly, isn’t it enough to just do one thing well?

One thought on “Just say “no” to multi-tasking

  1. Lisa says:

    Yes it is enough to do one thing well and writing is something you do well. Just because you happen to do a lot of things well doesn’t mean you should have to do them all at once. Thank you for writing this.


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