The BrainMultitasking what a wonderful skill, something we all do with varying degrees of success. I love the joy of doing it well. Second life hosting makes one quite adept with instant messaging, group and local chat. Holding the skein of many threads and responding to them all. Its like dancing in formation and indeed you dance at the same time. I also grab a tune, paste it into YouTube, grab the link paste it into my converter to mp3 and download it and no one notices coz it happens so fast. I love multitasking…maybe

Some people hate it, it seems. “When you are with me you must give me 100% of your attention or I will walk away” and they do this while multitasking themselves. Odd. Our brains, our neuronal pathways are a perfect example of multitasking. Just imagine ” Stop thinking I want to breathe” or ” I’m drinking tea stop talking and listening to music ” Ha! Bit extreme that but you catch my drift! However:

Wiki says:

Because the brain cannot fully focus when multitasking, people take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to error. When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, “or [alternate] rapidly between them, errors go way up and it takes far longer—often double the time or more—to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially,” states Meyer.This is largely because “the brain is compelled to restart and refocus”. A study by Meyer and David Kieras found that in the interim between each exchange, the brain makes no progress whatsoever. Therefore, multitasking people not only perform each task less suitably, but lose time in the process…..


Oh dear so it seems multitasking is not a good thing at the awareness level?  My mother used to do it. She would read a book, knit a fairisle sweater and watch TV all at the same time cognitively processing all three at the same time. She could recall the book and TV and I ended up with a beautiful sweater.

Some research:

Treating consciousness as awareness or attention greatly underestimates it, ignoring the temporary levels of organization associated with higher intellectual function (syntax, planning, logic, music). The tasks that require consciousness tend to be the ones that demand a lot of resources. Routine tasks can be handled on the back burner but dealing with ambiguity, groping around offline, generating creative choices, and performing precision movements may temporarily require substantial allocations of neocortex………..

In Buddhism mindfulness training is where you concentrate on the action that you are performing ” In walking there is only walking, in sitting there is only sitting” I am listening to music, thinking about this post and typing at the same time. I always work to music.  However perhaps this isn’t a good thing……

I think multitasking is a fact of life these days. I think it is an evolution of the digital life we lead. I notice my cats in second life come up to me and “demand” attention to the exclusion of all else. As does my real life cat. I can attend to my cat and do other things.

Do one thing and do it well? Do several things and do them all well? Is this possible? Switching our attention very quickly from one thing to another. What I have noticed is that there is a threshold effect. The music playing in the background lifts me to a threshold of experience and I function at a “higher” level.

Clearly I am very confused.

Multitasking or not, please leave your thoughts in comments:

Meanwhile back on the ranch:

Brain Pickings advice which I don’t do coz I don’t sleep too well….

  1. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

    Most importantly, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment, dictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?

I don’t sleep very well. I have to knock myself out with drugs.

Maybe I should stop trying to multitask………………. Help please! What you think?



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