Friday, April 3, 2009
Today, just after I read Carlomagno's final chapter on giving up multitasking, I read that apparently mulitasking is a myth. We simply cannot do more than one thing at a time. We only switch between tasks, and don't focus on any of them. This I believe. It is difficult not to multitask. Even as I work at not doing it, I find myself attempting to check my e-mail and voice mail at the same time, as if I could answer more than one thing at a time. It does take some concentration, and discipline, to put down one thing to focus on another. This is something I work hard at as a reference librarian. There is often "down time" when I am sitting at the reference desk, this is time that I might try to catch up on some professional reading, or grade papers. I have to stop what I am doing though to help someone who approaches the desk. It is tempting to keep trying to do two things at once when the question is a simple "where's the bathroom", but I don't do it. My custom is to set down what I am doing and make eye contact no matter how easily the question can be answered. Some of the patrons could probably take a lesson from this. They talk on their cell phone while they are trying to also have a conversation with me. One gentlemen approached the desk asking where the Park Ave. exit was, while he was still talking to someone else. I pointed in the direction of Park Ave., but before I could explain that he would have to go down the steps to get there he was off still chattering away with someone else. He came back 2 minutes later, still on the cell phone, to tell me he couldn't find the exit. What a surprise.