Multitasking, is that really such a good ‘skill’ to have?

Everyone today talks about the need to multitask, and the fact that in particular women are naturally good ‘multi-taskers’. Some common combinations of numerous tasks:

1. Washing the dishes while supervising children’s dinner and cooking the meal for next day (yes I have done that in the past, with what I have called ‘tremendous speed’)

2. Taping on our smart phones while walking down the street (I see so many people do that, constantly, every day despite it being bloody dangerous!)

3. Checking on google maps for directions while pushing a buggy and frantically trying to hold a toddler in tow (me and many other mums do it regularly, trying to get to a playdate or birthday party in the middle of an unknown common)

4. Talking to family members on the landline while checking emails on the mobile (and loosing track of what is being talked about in the conversation; they didn’t notice, did they?)

5. Doing our online shop on the app, while finding recipes and ordering a gift for a 3rd birthday present (that’s called not wasting your time).

We make lists. We use apps. We work hard. We entertain. We have kids. We read a lot (blog posts, social media updates, ebooks, books). We have a social and family life. We commute. We have a side passion that we try to grow and nurture. We have wider interests.

The list can be even longer, if everything was included.

This is the kind of fast-paced life we live, where our attention is continuously divided between numerous tasks, presented to us in rapid succession and sometimes even simultaneously.

While women perform better than men at multitasking and prioritising in particular ‘in stressful situations’, as numerous studies have reported, women tend to downplay their multitasking abilities while men tend to overplay them.

However, the truth is that the more we multitask, the more we make mistakes.

Our brains are not that well equipped to deal with constant interruptions and distractions that take our attention away. It even seems to be counter-evolutionary.

My husband regularly reminds me that I am ‘putting too much on my list’, an inflationary process that ends up with some randomly selected items, dropping off my list. And the ‘to-do’ list becomes a ‘wish-list’. What was the point of the list, in the first place?

Concentrating and completing one task at the time, can sometimes be much more efficient than trying to do, three other things at the same time.

For example concentrating on pushing the buggy and holding the toddler in tow, without also holding the phone and causing it to fall and break (that would be a disaster, right?)

So in fact the more I think about it, multitasking can sometimes be counter-productive, especially on competing tasks such as checking email while on a phone call or walking. But for certain tasks it can work, such as commuting and reading, or pushing the buggy and running.

Personally I am growing tired of multitasking. 

I am going to start scanning my lists for competing items, remove them from today’s list and add them on to a new list. This way I will end up with a number of lists, based on priorities, but at least, I will lead to completion one list at a time.

Good at multitasking? Maybe, not so much for me finally. How about you? Are you good at it? How do find the right balance?

Some visual examples

Multitasking, is that such a good 'female'


9 thoughts on “Multitasking, is that really such a good ‘skill’ to have?

  1. Very true, I have been reading The One Thing recently which actually is completely against multi tasking and proposes that wildly successful people are so because they have honed in the one thing and focused on that to get it done. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x


    • Thanks so much for your comment, I read your blogs so it’s great to see you visiting mine!! I guess that’s called focus and putting your energies to use in one thing only. I’ll check out the book (when I am not multitasking lol). #TheList is great! X


  2. I multi task to the point where it probably means I take longer to complete things at times. There is a lot to be gained from standing still, choosing one task to prioritise and stick to until completion once in a while. But I’m totally going to still to doing dishes whilst cooking the next meal and minding the kiddy!


    • Hi circus mum, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on my post. I think we women tend to overdo it as perhaps there is so much we want to achieve but sooo little time. I am glad I am not the only one doing the dishes, cooking and minding the kids 😁 I have promised myself to do less multitasking and focus on a few things at the time (I can’t do the 1 thing only… Lol). Just checked your blog, your story is lovely and you have made the move of ‘going out of London!!’ Congrats x


  3. I multitask so much I don’t even think of it as multitasking anymore. You have made a really good point here. We’d probably be much better at what we do if we were focusing on one thing at a time.


  4. I feel the same as Mel I am always multi-tasking, I think I was born that way, I do say no to quite a lot of stuff though and hone in on what I really enjoy so maybe it’s the best of both worlds. Thanks for linking up


    • Hi honest mum, thank you so much for commenting. I like what you’re saying that you think you are born that way… I think I am too… But yours is a good compromise 😀 I e joy a number of things and now I’ve got the point of trying not to get distracted by other things. You have a fab linky! X


  5. I think when it comes to work it’s part of a wider problem: the expectations some businesses have of their employees, piling tasks on top of them with little regard for whether they can all be done in the time available, demanding that they work overtime (sometimes unpaid) to clear work they should never really be given in the first place. And if they can’t get it done? They need to multi-task better.

    But the truth is when you have kids you don’t really have a choice; you have to multi-task or you’ll never get anything done. And inevitably some things slip, but what’s the alternative? #brilliantblogposts


    • Hi allpastmidnight, thank you for commenting. I agree when it comes to work multitasking is a good excuse to give people more work to do. And when you have kids you have to, I am not aware of another alternative either, I would be very interested to hear – have family around to help with the kids, it’d be great but not all the time for us as our families are in Devon and Albania. Free childcare would be the answer but we are so far from that here in the UK.


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