If the Shoe Fits: Multitask or Focus?

If the Shoe Fits: Multitask or Focus?

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mI’ve always believed that the ability to multitask is destructive, a crock or, at best, wishful thinking, as I’ve said more than once.

Of course, I’m frequently told that multitasking is the only way to function and that if I were younger I would understand that, blah, blah.

Founders and startup people are especially likely to tell me my advice to focus is dinosaurian, so I’m delighted every time I read the same comments from experts, such as Y Combinator partner Sam Altman,

“For whatever reasons, many founders love to spend time on anything else—worrying about the details of corporate structures, interviewing lawyers, doing a really good job bookkeeping, etc.  All of this pretending-to-run-a-company gets in the way of actually running a company.”

And recent research from Stanford University on the impact of heavy media consumption.

Results showed that heavy media multitaskers  are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory. This led to the surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set.

I’m not going to write more, because I would rather you read Altman, Stanford and my old posts and the links in them—I’m sure their opinion will carry more weight.

However, I’m doubtful it will make a difference, since most people consume stuff they don’t want to know through a “but me” filter.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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