Multitasking does not work

2014

I have a quite short attention span (who doesn’t), so I used to multitask a lot. It allowed me to tackle many tasks every day without much planning and…

Well actually, no. The real reason why I used to love multitasking is because it allowed me to feel busy, productive and important. But there was a small problem – more often than not, at the end of the day I would not have much to show for the whole day of being busy. Took me some time to realize that multitasking wasn’t a strategy to manage work, but rather a strategy to fake work.

Real multitasking doesn’t even exist. Humans can do only one mindful thing at a time, so what we call multitasking is simply a frequent switching between tasks. This switching consumes time and energy that could be put into much better use. So yeah, I’ve been trying to quit this habit for some time now. That means turning off notifications on everything except maybe phone calls, making time for every task separately and concentrating on it completely. This approach can be difficult to actually put to practise, but it definitely works.

As for me, it also goes beyond day-to-day multitasking. For the past couple years I’ve had many different activities on my plate. Constantly juggling between personal life, work, university and rock operas is extremely exhausting. However, the real disappointment came when I realized that I was not doing as good as I could at any of those activities. I was simply not happy with the situation.

So this year, after completing my third rock opera, I decided to leave. My excitement for the project was gone and it would have been impossible to handle the job without it. I’m sure the new producer will do much better than I would.

Quitting is almost always stressful, but it can also be strangely liberating – almost as if you become physically lighter. I like that feeling. And my day-to-day happiness level definitely increased up to the long forgotten levels.

In less than a year I will have had graduated from university. I can only imagine how liberating will that feel.

At least for now it seems that the less stuff I have in my life, the more room I have for happiness. Minimalism is quite underrated, if you ask me.