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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse


People often say that multi-tasking is bad for productivity (and that men are better at it than women- or is it the other way round?). I appreciate what they say.  In my understanding, it is better to focus on one task at a time and do it fully and thoroughly before moving on to the next because not only does this enhance the quality of your work in that particular task (full concentration and no distraction etc), it also minimises the amount of time needed to get back into it if/when you revisit it after leaving it half-done. These are all good reasons for doing things one at a time. However, I must admit (with guilt) that I rather enjoy doing more than one thing simultaneously, and I say this not because I like to have lack of focus in my approach towards my work, but rather I find myself, paradoxically, working better when I am doing more than one thing at the same time. When I maximise my concentration on one thing, I can only do it for a limited time (say, half an hour), because after a certain period of time my system gets tired and bored of the task at hand, which, I think, constitutes ‘saturation’. At this point, I simply need to switch tasks just to keep my system alive and receptive (and keep my interest flowing). I hence enjoy switching between tasks that need to be done and alternate between them one after another (and yes, there is ALWAYS more than one thing to be done at a time), and I often get more than one thing done within a limited time. People argue on good evidence (see above) that it is better to focus on one thing and do it really well, which I appreciate, but my body tells me that this is not (necessarily) the best method for me. There are times when this simply does not and cannot work for me and I have to resort to another way which does work for me. I guess we all work differently, and it is not always conducive (or even possible) to prescribe universal methods of working/training. After all, we need to find the best way for oneself, and this we can only discover for ourselves and not from others. What works for others may not work for you. Keep looking for what works best for you. There is always a way. Don’t give up.

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