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  • Writer's pictureIshfaaq Peerally

Don't Multitask!

"Different subjects and different affairs are arranged in my head as in a cupboard. When I wish to interrupt one train of thought, I shut that drawer and open another. Do I wish to sleep, I simply close all the drawers and then I am - asleep." - Napoleon Bonaparte


Contrary to popular beliefs, Napoleon was not a multitasker. He was just a very productive an effective person. Even your computer does not do multitasking(unless you have a multiprocessor). In fact, when you are using several programs, the CPU will allocate a given amount of time to each program. This is done so quickly that we have the impression that the computer is multitasking. If Napoleon cannot multitask nor can your CPU, why do you think you can?

Well, numerous studies have shown that we are very bad at multitaking. It actually takes us some time to concentrate on the things that we are doing. If you are reading this right now, it took you a few seconds to gain your full attention. Now if you stop reading this and instead go and read your emails, it will take you a few seconds to concentrate on your emails. And when you come back to this post, you need again a few seconds to concentrate on it. Every time we switch tasks, we need to allocate a few seconds to that task. It does not seem a lot but imagine if you switch 1000 tasks per day. That's about twenty minutes wasted just on switching tasks. Unfortunately, we cannot bypass that. We need to switch our attentions from task to task. Imagine you are sitting on your couch scrolling through your Instagram when suddenly you feel hungry and you think of that piece of cake you have in the fridge, you've got to wake up, go to the fridge, open the door, look for the cake, take it out, come back to your couch, eat it, get back to scrolling. Switching these tasks is unavoidable. We don't have the technology where just thinking of the cake will bring it to you yet.

However, there is a way to avoid this problem: Batching our tasks. Instead of checking your email every time you have a new email, you can check them in bulk. The same can be said about social networks. You don't need to check your Facebook every ten minutes for two seconds. Instead, allocate yourself 15 minutes everyday just to be on Facebook. I have realised this a long time ago and that's why I have switched off notifications on my phone. A decade ago, I was using Facebook only once a week and I didn't have any problem with that so why should I use it every ten minutes today?

Recently, I have decided to batch my tasks even in my work. I used to write the script for a video, film it and then edit it all in one day. Now, I only write the scripts for vlogs/blogs for the week on Mondays and I do all the filming and editing only on Tuesday. Likewise, I have dedicated days of the week and times to work only on my business or my investments.

You have only about 30 000 days in your life. That's seems a lot. But imagine a stadium, Old Trafford(the stadium of Manchester United), for example. There are 76 000 seats. If each day you sit on a different seat, it will take you more than 200 years to sit on all of them. Time is the most precious commodity. So don't lose it. Each millisecond counts.

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