Just redo it

Do you know a multi-tasker? You probably know someone who claims to be a multi-tasker. Anybody can lay claim to the title. And anybody can be one. As long as the tasks don’t have to be done right.

I can type, read, talk on the phone and watch television. And, yes, these tasks can be conducted simultaneously.

6-25 Page 4A.inddHowever, if anyone witnesses this, they may notice that my end of the phone conversation consists mostly of “UmHum,” If tested after the conversation has been completed, it might not be possible to tell you who I was talking to or what they said. Same goes for what happened on the program I was supposedly watching. Usually, if any writing is being done while on the phone or when the TV is on, the finished product turns out to be a transcript of whatever was being said.

And as far as reading at the same time goes, let’s just say a book may be open nearby. That doesn’t mean it’s being read.

Studies conducted on the subject show that human beings are incapable of effective multi-tasking. The brain has only so much capacity available for concentration, and much of what needs doing, with a few exceptions, requires focus.

So the more things you attempt to do at the same time, the more mistakes will be made and the caliber of performance will decline.

Maybe some people are capable of preparing dinner for a crowd with everyone gathered in the kitchen talking and propping themselves up against the refrigerator and standing in the space in front of the stove.

Maybe some people can do that. I’m not one of them. If more than two people are talking to me when I’m trying to fry chicken, don’t count on getting a decent meal. Count on burned chicken.

Have you ever tried to buy groceries accompanied by two small children? I used to do it years ago, but even in those days it presented a challenge.

Especially when we came to the cereal aisle. That was a dreaded area in the store and took longer to get through than all the other aisles combined.

There are a few jobs I am sure I could never do because they require some impossible attributes.

Have you ever watched the people who man the drive-through windows at fast-food restaurants? Not only do they take your order, they do this while delivering the order of the previous customer, taking money and giving change. My customers might get their chicken, but they wouldn’t get their change.

Another job I could never do properly would be to work in a bank as a teller at the drive through. I can talk, I can count and I can add and subtract, but there’s no way on earth I can do these things at the same time. Nor would anyone want me to, unless they wanted the entire banking system to come to a complete halt with customers rioting in the parking lot.

So no, I don’t claim to be a multi-tasker. I consider myself a single tasker. If you want it done right instead of fast, then we can both be happy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.