Multitasking, a myth?

Yes, though we have seen in recent years a coming into its own for this word, multitasking does not actually exist.

Take, for example, my post on Friday, “Dawn Time”. When I began writing this piece I was undisturbed. As I began waxing my prose poetically, being mom and wife seemed to demand my time. I was busily texting with my son about his homework and talking (using my earpiece) to my husband as he drove home–something that helps keep him focused and less likely to succumb to road rage on his 25 mile commute–and still continuing to write my blog using the app on my phone.

I’m a woman, I can multitask, right?

Not so, I’m afraid. See, multitasking as we have come to accept it is nothing more than oscillating according to the mental health experts. They say our brains are incapable of giving proper attention to more than one higher order function at a time, thus we move from one task to the other much like an oscillating fan, making it appear as if we are multitasking.

Reading, writing, and talking are all considered higher order functions and I was attempting to do all three at the same time.

So, my son finished his homework, my husband arrived home safely and unfrustrated, and I finished and posted my blog; a rather productive hour, wouldn’t you say. Not me.

No, the next day I logged in with my iPad to look at my blog, something I do periodically to see it in the same way you, my reader, sees my little corner of the internet. I was appalled!

I’m sure I’ve told you before, but if you are new to my musings, I am OCD about language as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation. I’m not an English major for nothing! I really do like a well written/spoken sentence.

I once met a lady that said diagraming a sentence gives her a feeling of sheer ecstasy (not her exact word, but for my PG rated blog, mine will suffice). Though I wouldn’t go quite that far, yes, language done properly gives me a reason to sigh. Conversely, when I see a grammar, spelling, or punctuation flub my eyes pop wide, my skin begins to crawl, and my blood boils. If I’m not shouting at the medium I am reading the moment my eyes are stabbed by the error then I am exhibiting incredible restraint.

Please don’t misunderstand. I do not ever go looking for these kinds of mistakes. On the written page such faux pas tend to leap up and stab me in the eye. In any conversation, errant phrases, noun and verb misalignments, incorrect vocabulary all grab my earlobes like a nun on a disciplinary mission. I can’t turn it off. I wish I could, but I simply cannot.

What is my point? My point is that despite being one for grammatical utopia, I made grammatical errors on my blog post while multitasking. Only two, but given my natural abilities, that was two too many for my liking. (I have since corrected my errors so don’t go trying to find them.)

Lesson learned: when blogging, blog, do not try to text, do not try to converse: not even with the dog, do not try to time the finishing and posting of a piece with the bell on the dryer. If other tasks demand your attention, stop blogging and tend to them–there is a save button: which, by the way, is the subject of an upcoming post–then resume writing.

Writing is a blood sport and needs the upmost mental attention to be done well.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TheOthers1
    Feb 19, 2012 @ 14:26:55

    We’ve already established I’m terrible at grammar so I don’t tend to see all my errors. I don’t think many people are truly capable of multitasking. Our brains just switch from one task to the other.


  2. makergoddess
    Feb 19, 2012 @ 17:23:17

    I hope you don’t think this post spawned from anything of yours that I have read. On the contrary, I was commenting on my own stupidity of the moment.

    You are right, we do just switch from one task to another. Some people are unfortunatedly still deluded into thinking they can multitask. I was given a fairly decent wake up call and have humbly come back to the realization that I cannot multitask as much as I may want to believe I can.

    Thanks for commenting! 🙂


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