As this country has claimed the title of most overworked populace in the world, we have picked up some nasty habits. This phenomena has been aided in large part by mutlitasking. We have all heard of it, and have been encouraged (or even forced) to adopt it as a "best practice" in our working lives. The truth is, however, that multitasking actually decreases efficiency and productivity while helping to increase overall stress levels.
By focusing on multiple things at once, we are allowing some level of inefficiency given the fact that our lack of a singular focus will cause mistakes across a spectrum of tasks, rather than a single task. This, of course, means we (or someone else for that matter) have to spend more time cross-checking our mistakes across several tasks, which adds cost to our given end-products. If we stop there, we have already built in more effort for a given task thanks to multitasking than if we had simply focused on a single task at a time. Since we are not alone in this waste of time, there is the very real chance that any mistake might not get noticed. Therefore, any efforts to rectify mistakes due to multitasking are factored exponentially since they are compounded as they progress.
I know what you're saying. Given the ability to have constant, instant information updates thanks to technological advances, multitasking has become paramount in our everyday lives. Well, I have to disagree. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well. And if you're chatting on your bluetooth headset while texting someone and IM'ing a few other people, all while trying to update a couple office documents and check the latest stock market quotes, you are bound to make mistakes. So the next time you are tempted to engage in multitasking, stop; take a deep breath, finish the task at hand, and move onto the next task, because not only will you get a lot more done, you will get a lot more done right.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Growing up in Kansas, I became accustomed to a certain level of skill from meteorologists. This could easily be quantified in the local NBC affiliate's three degree guarantee. If they were off by more than plus or minus three degrees on their temperature predictions, they would give money to some charity. Of course, they were rarely off by more than a degree, so they did not have to pay out that often. Fast forward to my current residence of Southern California. This weekend was supposed to bring a furious winter storm complex. Up to three inches of snow and 70 mph wind gusts. And you know what happened? Nothing. So thanks to my faith in the fire and brimstone weather forecast, I stayed at home and missed out on some awesomeness. Am I bitter? You betcha. Because a night out that I can not participate in equates to several potential lost opportunities. So for at least tonight all the meteorologists in SoCal get a big WTF? from me. Thanks for nothing.
Friday, December 5, 2008
In case you didn't already know, today is National Repeal Day. It was seventy five years ago today that the 21st Amendment was ratified, putting an end to prohibition. This amendment was historic for two reasons. First, by nullifying the 18th Amendment, it was the first (and to date the only) time a Constitutional amendment had been repealed. Second, it was the first (and to date the only) time a Constitutional amendment had been ratified by means of state conventions, rather than by state legislatures. By utilizing state conventions, the federal government was able to by-pass state legislatures who were believed to be too afraid to stand up to temperance advocates, essentially using a back door voting process already built into the Constitution. While the argument could be made that Prohibition was a noble social experiment, the reality is that Prohibition was a success only in its utter failure. It proved that legislating morality by simply outlawing activities does nothing but push them even farther to the fringes of society (something we could learn with our modern war on drugs). So raise a glass and celebrate your Constitutionally-protected right to drink!