September 2010 Newsletter: You Are Not A Computer

You can’t multitask. So why do you have 17 windows open on your computer?

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7 Responses

  1. Frank Hanna says:


    You’ve hit the nail on the head! I’ve been telling my clients the same thing for over ten years. Let’s kill the “must be able to multitask” job requirement once and for all.

    Frank Hanna

  2. Mark Boone says:


    Of course you are on to something. But there is more that may negatively impact how effective you are with this.

    As Dr. Goldratt exposed the world to “good multi-tasking” and “bad multi-tasking” in his book Critical Chain.

    If you cant tell the difference between the two, it will be impossible to stop the bad multi-tasking.

  3. Mark Jaben says:

    Have a listen to Fresh Air podcast from August 24, 2010 with Matt Richdal, technology writer for the NY Times, speaking about what neuroscientists have to say about the myth of multitasking.

    I call it juggle-tasking

    Mark Jaben

  4. Mark Jaben says:

    Have a listen to the Fresh Air podcast from August 24, 2010 with Matt Richdal, technology writer for the NY Times, summarizing what neuroscientists think about the myth and dangers in multitasking. Of course this is a misnomer. I call it juggle-tasking

    Mark Jaben

  5. Dan says:

    Mark Boone: I’m not familiar with Goldratt’s “good multi-tasking” and “bad multi-tasking.” Can you tell me about it?

    Mark Jaben: I heard that Fresh Air episode. Fascinating stuff. I can’t wait to hear more about their research.

    Frank: I’ve actually seen job descriptions that explicitly state “the ability to multitask a must.” Sigh. We have so far to go.

  6. Sean Roy says:

    I think part of the challenge is with software applications themselves. They’re designed to open new windows when clicking on a link or a task from the window in which you’re currently working. However, the original window stays open on your desktop.

    In fact, I was only able to read your blog and respond with this comment after opening three windows on my desktop.

    Perhaps, computer users and software companies need to re-emphasize value, utility and simplicity-in-design when considering future products.

  7. Kevin Gilligan says:

    Understanding the problem is easy. Finding a solution is hard.

    We need to differentiate the multi tasking that the individual has control over and the multitasking that is imposed by the environment. When the indivisual has the ability to control what he workss on the focus is on breaking the bad habits. It is more difficult to deal with those situationss where the multi-tasking is imposed by the environment.

    If the external demands for multi-tasking exceed a certain level there is little that the individual can do unless we change the environment. This is similar to the need to level the work flow.

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