Parallel thinking … what the heck is that?
Isn’t that something like multitasking?
In my last post, “How to Think in Parallel,” ( http://dougringer.com/2013/10/01/how-to-think-in-parallel) I explained the thought and planning process I use most frequently. It’s called “parallel thinking”. I encourage you to read it and then this post will have more meaning to you.
Multitasking is a modern term when applied to humans that was created to explain the method used by many people to accomplish their work. The term was taken from the world of computer processing where a microprocessor can process multiple jobs simultaneously by interweaving the individual tasks. This work extremely well in computers and explains many of the gains in processing speed in the past 2 decade.
It Does Not Work in the Human Brain
Did he just say that multitasking does not work? That can’t be true, can it?
Sorry to say but it is true. The human mind is not designed to work on multiple task at the same time. Studies show that the human mind can only focus on one task at a time. If forced to switch tasks, the brain must stop and refocus on the new task before it can start again. This stopping and starting, switching from task-to-task can easily double the amount of time it take to complete the job and generate a great number of errors.
Parallel Thinking vs. Multitasking
Parallel thinking is a proven method of brainstorming where the individual free-thinks for a period of time to generate ideas that will converge on solution to a problem. This is a process I use quite frequently to great effect.
Multitasking is a work pattern that many individuals have fallen into that gives the illusion of progress. The reality is that multitasking typically doubles the amount of time required to complete a job and with more errors. Unfortunately, I do this at times as well – at the expense of time and accuracy.
What to Do to Reduce My Dependency on Multitasking
- Just Say “No” to some of the work that gets assigned. If that is not possible, then negotiate for completion dates.
- Turn off multiple monitors, including your cell phone. These items make it easier to be distracted.
- Turn off the music with words. Singing while working is multitasking.
Do These Things
- Focus on the result you want.
- Ignore distractions. If distractions are other people, be direct with them.
- Only do pro bono work (aka “favors”) when all of your other work is on schedule, or ahead.
What Are Some of Your Tips?
I would like you to share your best tips for productivity and for stopping the multi-tasking.
Originally posted 2013-10-08 06:45:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter