On any given day, at pretty much any given moment, you can find me doing three or more things at once. I consider myself a master of drinking my coffee/texting/emailing/painting my nails while running out the door - my mouth still chewing my last bite of breakfast.  Its like a beautiful symphony of task juggling, and it almost always works.

Which brings me to a writer whose experiment literally stopped me in my tracks, wet nail polish and all. A.J. Jacobs, author of My Life as an Experiment explored different ways to live his life and then wrote a book about it, each chapter examined a different lifestyle. The concept I found to be most interesting (and borderline impossible) was the idea of UNITASKING: doing one single task at a time, without distraction of any sort.

Jacobs tells of The Unitasker chapter:

I was so distracted – by the internet, by my cell phone, by snacks beckoning from the kitchen – that I was four months behind deadline in writing this book. So I became the Unitasker. I pledged to quit multitasking. I decided to rewire my brain to I will be the most focused person alive. I unplugged my laptop, I meditated, I talked on the phone – just talked, no surfing the internet at the same time – crazy, no? (it helps that I blindfolded myself). I literally tied myself to my desk chair. It did end up changing my 
life. I’ve come to believe multitasking isn’t just a minor problem, it’s the Eleventh plague.

I know that I could never give up multitasking, but the idea of doing one thing at a time is kind of romantic. I've made a deal with myself that when I find myself trying to do three or more things at once, I'll stop myself and attempt the theory unitasking. I'll make sure to write a follow up post on this one...with only one Safari tab open, and no other applications running on my Mac - wish me luck!

Iphone, Macbook Pro, magazine- wasn't difficult finding a photo of me multitasking.

1 comment:

  1. There's a program called Freedom for Mac that I use--not often enough--that forces you to restart your computer if you want to go on-line. It can be useful!


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