Thursday, February 19, 2009

Am I just out of date?

I've rarely done things like talk on the phone while writing a report, read with the tv on, chat on a IM while cooking, etc. My multiple tasks don't often occupy the exact same moment in time. When faxing, emailing, and call waiting became the norm, I noticed that there seemed to be a new sense of urgency in the world. People could no longer wait (even a few minutes) for things they had waited for previously. People seemed to have lost the ability to walk to the end of the hall to deliver a document. Getting a busy signal became a great irritation.

And yet, somehow, I don't get the impression that all this time saved has amounted to free time. It seems to have led to a greater need to save time and to more stress, more work. I read an article about research into the multitasking habits of modern society. It seems we now consider it pretty normal to do two things at once.

Leaving mothers aside (for certainly mothers have multi-tasked since the beginning of time!), What I'd like to ask you all is when did they find that it became necessary for us to multi-task and why. Does the technical ability to multi-task create the need to multi-task? Does the need to multi-task lead to the invention of the technical means to do so? .... Or is something else involved here?

I guess I'm just starting to feel a bit old-fashioned in my habits of wanting to do one thing at a time.

Am I just out of date? And if so, when did everything change? And Why?


Andy C said...

As a society we are in love with the thought of multi-tasking. But is it really efficient?

Something worth doing is usually worth our undivided attention. You could argue that two or three worth doings are worth multi-tasking over, but is it that or an excuse not to prioritize and be held accountable for our decisions?

We could debate that point for quite some time.

Gayle said...

I think some people thrive on the idea that they are busy (needed). Being busy makes them feel successful. "Yes, I've been so busy with these projects, that I've had little sleep and haven't eaten lunch all week". We feel we need to be involved in everything and have our kids involved in everything so they will be successful.

But I think that we've missed the point, we have left behind relationship building that takes time and individual attention. We are all lost souls looking for validation and acceptance...some of us are looking in the wrong places.