How I Learned to Embrace – and Let Go – of Multitasking

Make up your mind, woman!

I don’t blame you if that came to mind as you read the title of this post. How is it possible to embrace and let go of something at the same time? Well, folks, I think I have found that thin line between multitasking and focusing on the work at hand.

multitasking

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It’s a very thin line that, I admit, I sometimes stray from.

Letting go of multitasking

While I was thinking about how to structure this post – and even as I write – I got rid of the usual online distractions. My Twitter client is not online. Facebook window is minimized. Instant messaging is offline (although this is usually the case for me).

In this sense, I have let go of multitasking: when facing a task that requires focus and concentration, multitasking just doesn’t work.

Some of you may disagree with me, but based on my own experience, the habit of switching from one task to another in speeds faster than even The Flash can manage leads to sub-par work. Sure, I can still get articles done. I can get “more” done by dealing with email, writing, chatting, etc. all at the same time, but at the end of the day, quality suffers.

That was a compelling enough reason for me to let go of multitasking.

TIP: When you really, really need to focus on writing, use your tablet if you have one. I call my iPad my distraction-free writing zone, and I do get more (quality) work done on it – as long as it is straight out writing.

Embracing multitasking

Having said all that, how on earth can I even think of embracing multitasking?

Context is everything, folks.

While I avoid multitasking when writing, I do immerse myself in various activities in other situations.

One of the most important processes that a writer goes through is coming up with ideas for a piece. Then there’s deciding on an angle and outlining. For me, this takes longer than the actual writing; and more often than not, I get the best ideas, find the most appropriate angle, and come up with a decent outline when I am doing something else.

What’s this something else?

multitasking

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Washing the dishes. Sitting out in the balcony playing a brainless game on the iPad. Mopping the floor.

The same goes for when I am trying to untangle work-related knots. Multitasking works then.

Your thoughts?

So this is how I have come to terms with multitasking, an activity that has been praised to high heavens – and shot down more often.

How about you? Do you stand by multitasking? Do you avoid it at all costs? Or have you found a middle ground like I have?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

About

Noemi Twigg has been writing for Splashpress Media for several years. An English teacher by profession, she has a penchant for words and likes to play around with them. Having been bitten by the travel bug, she aims to discover more languages in the near future as she continues to do what she loves most - writing.

Comments

  1. I agree! Multi-tasking is overrated. Quality and content certainly suffer. Plus when you are focused you get the job done a lot faster – IMHO. By the way – what app do you use for writing on your iPad? Anything special?

    • Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says:

      I just use Pages and WordPress for the iPad. The former helps me focus more, while the latter helps with the formatting. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. This is very true. I have a very hard time letting go of my multi-tasking, but I know I’m more productive when I do. I need more self-discipline. Thanks for the reminder.
    Kathleen Krueger´s last blog post ..Freelance Writer, Soon to be Published Author

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