Focus

Some scientists today are questioning the popular notion of multitasking, the much praised ability to do a bunch of things all at once. Do you do it?

Multitasking is supposed to be the badge of today’s legendary supermom, for example – job, kids, household, alluring spouse and, of course, dog walker-feeder-scooper upper after. The same goes for the superhero superdad – clock-punching toiler, household fixer-upper, scout leader and of course, at all times, spouse in touch with his sensitive, softer nature.

Yup… That’s me. Not! How about you? Oh well, the not always successful multitaskers, you and I, have at least one thing we can brag about: on our best days, sometimes, once in a memorable while, it works… or at least sort of. But did you ever notice how annoying it can be when you…

✓ send e-mails during a meeting,

✓ talk on the phone while other people are watching television in the same room,

✓ take work with you on vacation,

or even

✓ show admiring friends that you can really chew gum and walk at the same time!

Well, those pesky scientists, the kind who have to test everything to see if it is really true, have come up with the even darker side of multitasking. It seems nobody really does it well.

Try this on for size: multi-partial-tasking. The finding of those scientists – I think they were really efficiency experts married to psychiatrists – seems to be that if your goal is perfection or excellence, you can’t do it. The best you can do as an experienced multitasker is just lots of “sort of good enough” and maybe “so-so.”

At the end of the day, most of us multitaskers have demoted our definition of excellence, broadened our target for perfection, to match what we actually got done, as in: “Oh, well, I got a lot sort-of-done, took a good whack at the pile of stuff I had to do and… wait for it… the ultimate salvation for every multitasker… There’s always tomorrow, I can finish it/fix it then.”

If you want excellence, what you really need is focus. And that even goes for relaxing. Have you noticed how much relaxation time actually gets eaten up with… well, I can stay in touch with the office while I’m on the golf course or… I can fold this laundry while I watch Dr. Phil.

You and I need a cure for multitasking.

This week we take you, dear overworked, overstressed reader, on a little trip to a quiet place where you can focus on nothing else but relaxing, enjoying and chilling. It’s a wonderful place filled with music and friends and good times called a musical listening room. We have lots of them all around town.

Comfortable seats, intimate spaces, the artists you enjoy most, and nothing else. No annoying chatter, platter-dropping waiters, drunks at the bar or TVs blaring news, ads, cops ‘n robbers over your head. Just good music all for you.

Follow Mallery in this week’s cover story to a listening room near you some evening when you decide you really deserve a break. It’s just music the way you like it, just for you and a few friends doing the same as you – nothing else at all for a refreshing change.

Enjoy the music and, without too many other distractions just for now, enjoy the read in your very own copy of this week’s Jamestown Gazette.

Walt Pickut