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Do only one thing at a time (because you can‘t take more)
1000 Ways to Improve Our Lives / No. 53
Hello from Berlin,
Things like this happen to me all the time: I write a text, and an e-mail pops up; my phone beeps while I eat; I answer a phone call during my daily run.
Do you also struggle with multitasking almost every day like I do?
We think we've gotten used to doing several things simultaneously. But let's be real, we just can't get used to it. We are just not capable of multitasking.
Humans can only live sequentially.
We are just able to switch our attention rapidly between different foci. But we are bad at it. There is much evidence for this (for example, here). So attempting two tasks simultaneously ends up doing everything worse.
But why do we keep trying?
Because the conditions we live in are like that.
Because today we have so many opportunities but so little time to make use of all these opportunities.
Because we like to distract ourselves from activities that we actually don't like.
But the problem with multitasking is not only that we are barely able to handle it, it also puts us under stress.
So what to do?
"The uncomfortable truth is that the only way to find sanity in an overwhelming world is to surrender such efforts to escape the human condition, and drop back down into the reality of our limitations", writes Oliver Burkeman, the author of "Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals".
The Upshot: Multitasking makes the false promise of being able to experience or accomplish more than we are able to. It creates the illusion that we can get on top of everything. But we can't. There is always more to do and more to see than our limited (life)time allows. When we admit this to ourselves, we regain freedom of choice. Then we choose one thing and don't do the other. And because it is our choice, we need fewer distractions while doing this one thing.
I would like to be like that. Sometimes it works.
Tell your friends!
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