the myth of multitasking

I know this is an old one, dating back to late August, but thoguht it was worth a revisit: Media multi-taskers pay mental price – Stanford university put together a test, and tested “low” and “high” multi-taskers on how well they could cope on accomplishing one task when they were provided with additional streams of information that were irrelevant to the task at hand.

The high multi-taskers (those who preferred to have a lot of streams of information coming in at once) did worse on the tasks. Can you extrapolate that to “people can’t multi-task?” or at least “the quality of your work will suffer as you try to multi-task?”

In my experience, I need to pause the podcast while I’m reading: I end up tuning out the conversation that’s in my earphones while I’m trying to read a book. On the other hand, I can walk and check twitter on my iPhone, or walk and listen to a podcast at the same time.

What’s your experience on multi-tasking? Does it work, or do you just feel like you’re not working hard enough if you’re not doing more than one thing at once?

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