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a1call
2012-Aug-04, 06:02 PM
Concentrate on a single task and you will produce excellent results, but you will neglect other high priority tasks
Multi-task, and you will have so many valid tasks that you will not get anything done satisfactorily.


I usually bounce back and forth between the two approaches never reaching a happy medium.
At the moment I am using a 2Do app and perform bits of tasks ordered by priority. I pick through them on a binary basis. I.E. I do a bit of task 1 then task 2 then task 1 then task 3 then task 1...
This way I spend about 1/2 the time at task 1, 1/4 at task 2, 1/8 at task 3 .....

How do you resolve the dilemma?

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-04, 07:24 PM
Studies show that multi-tasking is a myth.

Solfe
2012-Aug-04, 08:14 PM
Studies show that multi-tasking is a myth.

I think all people multi-task, however what they do is somewhat trivial. A friend of mine would sing while writing code. It was impressive to hear, he was really good at singing and not bad at coding.

The problem with multi-tasking is, how many tasks are really different enough to count as multi-tasking and how many tasks useful enough that you can get results when multi-tasking? Singing and coding is impressive, but there is no "result" for singing. Jogging in place or doing T'ai Chi while talking on the phone is very annoying (Yeah, I had cube mates who have done both).

I have a tendency of painting with two hands, a brush in each hand moving at the same time. I don't intentionally do it and when I do it, I am completely unaware of what is happening around me. One time, I started humming while doing this and didn't hear 3 people ask me to stop. This annoyed everyone in the room, so they moved all my stuff. I didn't react when they switched off my music, removed my laptop, took my bag, phone and coat. I was completely baffled when I couldn't find the table my pallet was sitting on. Now that they had my attention, all 12 people in the class shouted "Stop humming!"

swampyankee
2012-Aug-05, 01:29 AM
You're not really multi-tasking; you're task switching. I find task-switching at more than about 0.3 millihertz causes thrashing.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-09, 03:17 AM
Studies show that multi-tasking is a myth.

Those of us who multi-task find such studies inaccurate. Seriously, let's say you had brown eyes. What would you think if you read of a study conducted on the island of Vanuatu which found that a random sample of 3,000 islanders contained no people with blue eyes, therefore the study concluded that blue-eyed people were a myth? Now, if you had blue eyes, would you think any differently? Perhaps more or less strongly about the issue?

But eye color is an attribute which can be externally observed. If the question were something internal but not likely to be shared, such as how often people think about a deceased aunt, and the study's conclusion jibed with your personal experience, you'd tend to believe the study. If the study's conclusion conflicted with your personal experience, you'd tend to think of the study as a piece of crap, would you not?

Of course you would. To do anything else would be to deny your own experience. Again, for those of us who multi-task, these studies are pieces of crap.

Solfe
2012-Aug-09, 03:31 AM
Multitask the game. (http://www.kongregate.com/games/IcyLime/multitask)

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-09, 04:39 AM
Those of us who multi-task find such studies inaccurate. Seriously, let's say you had brown eyes. What would you think if you read of a study conducted on the island of Vanuatu which found that a random sample of 3,000 islanders contained no people with blue eyes, therefore the study concluded that blue-eyed people were a myth? Now, if you had blue eyes, would you think any differently? Perhaps more or less strongly about the issue?

But eye color is an attribute which can be externally observed. If the question were something internal but not likely to be shared, such as how often people think about a deceased aunt, and the study's conclusion jibed with your personal experience, you'd tend to believe the study. If the study's conclusion conflicted with your personal experience, you'd tend to think of the study as a piece of crap, would you not?

Of course you would. To do anything else would be to deny your own experience. Again, for those of us who multi-task, these studies are pieces of crap.

Anecdote is not evidence. Are you saying you've submitted yourself to scientific observation to determine if your subjective, biased and self-aggrandizing point of view fits objective observations against scientific metrics?

I don't know any of the results of some studies I participated in at the local university, so I can't speak from the objective view. Actually, I can "multitask" better than most, but I don't use that to dismiss valid scientific studies. And studies show that people who support claims that go against with their own self-interests tend to be given more credence.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-09, 08:14 AM
Anecdote is not evidence

Foo-boo. Reality is.


Are you saying you've submitted yourself to scientific observation to determine if your subjective, biased and self-aggrandizing point of view fits objective observations against scientific metrics?

Are you saying bevy's of scientific observation is somehow going to disprove thirty years of experience? Perhaps 10,000 years of such experience? Laughing my *** off, Ara, go right ahead, waste your time disproving what thousands if not millions of us impractically know otherwise. Roll my eyes, and laugh your assertions around the fires of those of us who've experienced otherwise.


I don't know any of the results of some studies I participated in at the local university, so I can't speak from the objective view.

I'm sorry your local university's study's have yet to encompass the world at large. Call me when your university expands their horizons.


Actually, I can "multitask" better than most, but I don't use that to dismiss valid scientific studies. And studies show that people who support claims that go against with their own self-interests tend to be given more credence.

Good for you, Ari! Lots of us multi-tasked in high school, college, and beyond, but I'll be most "experts" don't recognize it.

Cougar
2012-Aug-09, 01:09 PM
Anecdote is not evidence.

Generally, anecdote is evidence. It's just not conclusive evidence.

Cougar
2012-Aug-09, 01:18 PM
At the moment I am using a 2Do app and perform bits of tasks ordered by priority.

Priority should not be the only consideration. The estimated amount of time to complete each task should also be considered. If you can complete one task in a half hour, and another task will take two days, do the half hour task first and get it out of the way, even if it has a lower priority. Then you can work on the two-day task with one less thing nagging at you to get done.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-09, 01:44 PM
Foo-boo. Reality is.
Are you saying bevy's of scientific observation is somehow going to disprove thirty years of experience?
Introspection is the least accurate way to find out what's going on in your brain.

Don't expect anyone else to accept it as evidence of other that how it feels to do it.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-09, 04:59 PM
Generally, anecdote is evidence. It's just not conclusive evidence.

That sounds like something I would say. As you can tell, I can't write and think at the same time. See, multitasking is a myth.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-09, 05:04 PM
Foo-boo. Reality is.

Are you saying bevy's of scientific observation is somehow going to disprove thirty years of experience? Perhaps 10,000 years of such experience? Laughing my *** off, Ara, go right ahead, waste your time disproving what thousands if not millions of us impractically know otherwise. Roll my eyes, and laugh your assertions around the fires of those of us who've experienced otherwise.

Thanks, Dogi, I may show this to my local clergy or JREF.


Good for you, Ari! Lots of us multi-tasked in high school, college, and beyond, but I'll be most "experts" don't recognize it.Sure they do. they recognize it for what it is, switching.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 03:53 AM
Thanks, Dogi, I may show this to my local clergy or JREF.

What's a "JREF?"


Sure they do. they recognize it for what it is, switching.

They can think whatever they want. It may very well be switching in their brains. In my brain, it's not switching.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-10, 11:32 AM
There's been a couple of experiments which gives objective evidence for multitasking, they all show that it's possible, but only if the tasks are sufficiently distinct to use different parts of the brain.

One informal but easy to repeat example was Feynman who did a series of experiments where he checked which types of tasks he could perform and still accurately estimate when a minute has gone by, the conclusion of which was that the task of keeping time for him consisted of counting steadily, so was using the speech center and all simultaneous tasks using that part of his brain would interfere with timekeeping.
Repeating it with an associate they noticed that the other guy has a completely different set of tasks he could perform while keeping accurate track of time because he did it by visualizing a roll of numbers moving by, so he had no tr5ouble talking while still keeping track of time, but trying to visualize rotating geometric objects would throw his timing off,

BTW, I'll repeat again. Introspection is the weakest tool for showing what goes on in the brain, it doesn't tell what really goes on.
A person's own impression of how their mind works is the least reliable evidence for how it works.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-10, 06:44 PM
What's a "JREF?"



They can think whatever they want. It may very well be switching in their brains. In my brain, it's not switching.Pics or it didn't happen.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-10, 06:46 PM
There's been a couple of experiments which gives objective evidence for multitasking, they all show that it's possible, but only if the tasks are sufficiently distinct to use different parts of the brain.

One informal but easy to repeat example was Feynman who did a series of experiments where he checked which types of tasks he could perform and still accurately estimate when a minute has gone by, the conclusion of which was that the task of keeping time for him consisted of counting steadily, so was using the speech center and all simultaneous tasks using that part of his brain would interfere with timekeeping.
Repeating it with an associate they noticed that the other guy has a completely different set of tasks he could perform while keeping accurate track of time because he did it by visualizing a roll of numbers moving by, so he had no tr5ouble talking while still keeping track of time, but trying to visualize rotating geometric objects would throw his timing off,

BTW, I'll repeat again. Introspection is the weakest tool for showing what goes on in the brain, it doesn't tell what really goes on.
A person's own impression of how their mind works is the least reliable evidence for how it works.

You mean like walking and chewing gum at the same time? I don't include non-cognitive functions.

jfribrg
2012-Aug-10, 07:15 PM
If it's routine, repetitive work, then task-switching is ok. If it involves creativity or is non-routine, then it is better to finish the one task before starting the next.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 09:49 PM
There's been a couple of experiments which gives objective evidence for multitasking, they all show that it's possible, but only if the tasks are sufficiently distinct to use different parts of the brain.

Are you claiming it's impossible to type along one train of thought non-stop while simultaneously talking another train of thought non-stop, simply because both activities are using the same part of the brain?


One informal but easy to repeat example was Feynman who did a series of experiments where he checked which types of tasks he could perform and still accurately estimate when a minute has gone by, the conclusion of which was that the task of keeping time for him consisted of counting steadily, so was using the speech center and all simultaneous tasks using that part of his brain would interfere with timekeeping.
Repeating it with an associate they noticed that the other guy has a completely different set of tasks he could perform while keeping accurate track of time because he did it by visualizing a roll of numbers moving by, so he had no tr5ouble talking while still keeping track of time, but trying to visualize rotating geometric objects would throw his timing off.

Ok.


BTW, I'll repeat again. Introspection is the weakest tool for showing what goes on in the brain, it doesn't tell what really goes on.
A person's own impression of how their mind works is the least reliable evidence for how it works.

You're confusing introspection with observation. When I person knows what they can do, because they do it all the time, that's observation, not introspection. I haven't a clue as to how I and others multitask. Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean we're not doing it, and we don't kneed to know what's going on in our brains or how our minds work to know we're doing it.

The debate isn't about how. It's about what.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-11, 12:40 AM
You're confusing introspection with observation. When I person knows what they can do, because they do it all the time, that's observation, not introspection. I haven't a clue as to how I and others multitask. Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean we're not doing it, and we don't kneed to know what's going on in our brains or how our minds work to know we're doing it.

The debate isn't about how. It's about what.

I think there are some people who can do that. I think the common term for that is schizophrenic.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-11, 04:06 AM
I think there are some people who can do that. I think the common term for that is schizophrenic.

Would you like to discuss this rationally, or are red herring arguments your flavor of the month? Perhaps you're merely trying to be humorous, but similar comments have appeared with increasing frequency in response to my posts on a few other threads. Care to explain yourself?

Swift
2012-Aug-11, 02:33 PM
Ara Pacis and DoggerDan,

Both of you knock it off. You either post appropriate, polite content or don't post on CQ.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-13, 01:24 PM
I think there are some people who can do that. I think the common term for that is schizophrenic.
It's a common misconception that multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder(DID)) and schizophrenia are the same. It's just plain wrong. Confusing multitasking with DID would be wrong as well, as only one personality is dominant at any time with DID.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-13, 11:43 PM
It's a common misconception that multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder(DID)) and schizophrenia are the same. It's just plain wrong. Confusing multitasking with DID would be wrong as well, as only one personality is dominant at any time with DID.

Well, yeah, I was thinking less of actually doing two things at once and merely thinking that one (not to refer to anyone in particular) is doing multiple things at the same time for various reasons. But, DID might explain time-sharing. Of course, there's also Alien Hand Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome) where the brain hemispheres are operating independently of one another sometimes without realizing it.