Monday, January 12, 2009

Multitasking is Bad

This probably completely goes against everything I've stood for and done for like...ever, but I've come to realize the root of my issue with procrastionation. I used to think I was so awesome for being able to do so many things at once, but a few moments ago, a profound thought struck me -- multitasking is only worse. Having over a dozen tabs open on a dozen subjects, as well as iTunes, gtalk, and some other random program while trying to do an AP Lit assignment is just plain ridiculous. I've found that I'm not really getting work done faster, it's just a lack of self-control. For some reason I feel the need to check my email, Facebook, and Google Reader feeds and YouTube subscriptions every 5 minutes. I get caught up in links to other sites, self reminders to "hey, remember to do/check this!", or weird random questions that suddenly pop into my mind that I have to impulsively Google the answer for. It's the curse and blessing of the Internet.

This is horrible, horrible time management. People think that just because I get good grades I must study all the time and am constantly being productive. Ha! I rarely study or do homework at home, I just happen to be really good at BSing, can usually understand and retain something the first time I read it, and can read/work pretty quickly. I'm more than sure this type of behavior won't cut it in college. 

Observing just how busy I was in these last few months with school, work, college apps, robotics, and everything else, I realize now just how precious my time is. There's no room for failure or goofing off, but I do it anyway. Somehow a majority of my work gets done, but the manner in which it gets done is not optimal. Getting only 3 or 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis is not healthy. Nor is bragging about a lack of sleep cool. Today was the first Sunday I've had off since July and I realized just how tired I was.

Back to this multitasking thing, in no way is this an efficient use of time at all. I spend more time switching between activities or looking for something else to do than actually getting work done.  Fully dedicating my attention to one task at a time will get more accomplished in a period of time than trying to do 95 billion things at once. Duh!

I just remembered where this idea might've come from. Earlier today I read an article on Lifehacker about multitasking vs. continuous partial attention. Interesting, but doesn't really help me much besides providing a label for another bad habit.

Now that I know the problem, I don't know if I'll be able to solve it. Habits are hard to break.  I can't imagine turning on my computer to do work without having my email and reader and music playing in the background. Perhaps I need to part from my computer when doing real work (doesn't quite work well with online classes). Perhaps I should stop lying to myself about being efficient and good with time management first.

Ironically, I'm writing this post while trying to knock out the last essay I'll ever write (except for the final) for AP Lit, looking at robot stuff on Chief Delphi, and organizing music on my iPod. Change is difficult.

Hmmpf, maybe I'll have more time to work with in the near future since I (and 40,000 others) may not have a job after next week...


domi.blurbs said...

Hmm, Ms. Jenkins told me that once.
She said I was never allowed to do two things at once.
Hence I stopped doing it with my artwork, but I continue to do it with my studies. That's a good thing to know and I'm glad that you got to the root of the problem.
And about CC, just hang in there till the end!

P.S.- After the semester is over, try to grab 8-9 hours sleep.

Josue said...

man, I should have followed your blog earlier.

I dont think that its coincidence that I have the same problem, but I thank God that you have more control over it than I did.

want to know why I got such horrible grades? there ya go.

but I seriously can say that this can become an addiction, almost destroying your life, exhibit A -looks at self-

I have been praying for a while for help to stop doing this, and so far, so good. Can you beleive that once I actually said, "ok lets do some work" and it actually hurt?

Like, physical pain hurt.... that was scary.

but anyways, good to know that I am not the only one :)

-in a small room-

"Hi im Josue and im an addict"

"HI JOSUE!!!!!"