Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Myth of Multitasking

On my flight home today, I read a book called, "The Myth of Multitasking - How "Doing it all" gets nothing done" by David Crenshaw.

The book is a small page size and only 125 pages. Perhaps he is trying to cater to those people who don't have enough time.

The writer's style is storybook format which some people prefer (but I am not one of them).

The title says it all -- multitasking is a myth and I am a big believer in this. We don't actually multitask; we switch quickly from one task to another and often when we multitask we don't get the higher priority things done. I wrote an article on 6 times to effectively multitask. Might sound like a conflict with this book but not really.

The book tells a story of an office worker as she works through his challenges with trying to get everything done and points out how multitasking has been alienating others in the office.

The story is told of Helen who is a chronic multitasker whose multitasking is causing stress for her as well as her co-workers. The story tells of her being mentored by Phil who explains all of the costs of multitasking and the ways of reducing multitasking.

Although the title says it all, it is never bad to have a good refresher.

Quotes of the day:

"Eleven, the average number of minutes an employee can devote to a project before it being interrupted."

A study conducted by Irvine, Department of Information of Computer Science, University of California, Irvine.

"Multitasking? I can't even do two things at once. I can't even do one things at once."

by Helena Bonham Carter.

"Multitasking is worse than a lie"
Another Book Title by David Crenshaw


At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the review. Yes, the book is written for the time-straved executive ... it was written with the intent to be given as a gift to those who are constantly multitasking.

If you want more scientific and in-depth analysis into multitasking, please visit my brand new blog at
This will aggregate the latest findings about multitasking.

Also, the back of the book contains an extensive list of academic and scientific sources used in researching the principles taught in story form.

P.S. "Multitasking Is Worse Than a Lie" is actually a self-published "first edition" of "The Myth of Multitasking" and is out of print. Jossey-Bass/Wiley, my publisher changed the name and had me make several additions. I've asked Amazon to remove it from the system to avoid confusion, but once it's up, it's up!

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the quotes, very funny.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My brain multitasks for me, it's like on overdrive, it thinks the next step before I'm even there.

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Ethan Backman said...

I outline some significant benefits to multi-tasking in my latest blog. :p
Worth a look if you feel the urge.



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