Many days my brain is in a tizzy with all the tasks to complete that day, and I'm trying to do as much at one time as possible. This may sound like I'm trying to utilize my time wisely and multitask, however, it seems like when I try to optimize my time small details are looked over and many things need to be redone. So, is this multitasking really saving me time?
I've been pondering this for several weeks. So, as a scientist I decided to try an experiment on myself. I decided to calmly do one thing at a time and accomplish that task before moving onto the next. My goal was to apply this to my research and my home life. So far my results have been mixed...(maybe I need more trials to increase my statistical significance....jk)
When in the lab I find my mind racing and I can't concentrate on the project I'm working on, but, I didn't completely stop my multitasking. Some procedures and protocols have lengthy incubation times, so during this time I work on something else. For the most part, focusing my attention on the one task I have before me has been a way to incorporate this into my lab work. I'm not perfect, and I find my mind racing and thinking of the next several steps I need to complete. Slowly, I'm starting to remind myself in those moments to calm my mind and refocus. Similarly, at home I have the tendency to start small projects all over the apartment and not finish them. I may start putting away laundry, then start cleaning off my desk, then doing a few dishes. Before I know it then evening is almost over and I haven't completed anything I set out to do. This is another situation where I have to follow through and concentrate/focus and not try to multitask so much.
In an effort to understand what is going on with my crazy mind I ran across an article on MSNbc that gave some insight. Apparently, our brains can handle two tasks at the same time pretty well, however, when a third task is added there is much more difficulty doing each task correctly.
So multitasking is not a foe, however, I believe it should be used sparingly. It's alright if I don't finish everything on my to-do list as long as the things I do finish are done well, and I can say I tried my best.