Perhaps you are a multi-tasker or admire someone who seems to have mastered the function. If so you will be interested in the observations of John Medina who is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.
After considerable research, he has concluded that four steps must occur in sequence every time a multi-tasker switches from one task to another. It is time-consuming and sequential. So he has concluded that while a person might work on several tasks in sequence, as to efficiently
accomplishing multiple things at the same time, this is not actually happening. The best one can say is that people who appear to be good at multi-tasking actually have good working memories capable of paying attention to several inputs one at a time.
Even these who seem to have a system are found to be losing track of previous chores and needing to start over perhaps muttering things like "Now where was I?" each time there is a change in tasks.
Here's why this matters: Studies show that a person who is interrupted takes 50 percent longer to accomplish a task and makes 50 percent more errors. It is like trying to put your right foot into your left shoe according to John Medina.
Though it is related and yet not totally, John Medina developed a 10 minute lecture design. Each segment would cover a single core concept-always large, always general and always filled with information explainable in one minute. This is mentioned only to reinforce the belief he has that the brain can send or receive just one thing at a time.
So putting all of this together, if you are a multi-tasker, you might consider John Medina's findings on this procedure and if you are a victim of one, just consider the reality of what you may be getting from the multi-tasker.
Gregory B. Anderson-director