Many people are convinced that they can multitask but, does the ability exist or is it a myth? Before I can begin to answer the question I really need to know how to define multi-tasking.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines multitasking as the ability: ‘to deal with more than one task at the same time’. Which suggests that if you can do two things or more simultaneously then you can multitask.
Is that even possible? I suppose by that definition, it may be true if you are a circus performer, riding a unicycle whilst juggling. But I question whether doing two tasks simultaneously can qualify as ‘multitasking’ — dual tasking, perhaps.
I agree that it can appear as if you are multitasking when you’re looking at one TV screen and another TV screen while you’re talking on the telephone; but in actuality, your attention has to shift from one task to the other in a rapid sequential manner.
But, when this happens, the quality of the tasks being performed is likely to suffer (which is probably why it is against the law to drive whilst talking on a mobile phone).
You may complete several tasks but are any of those tasks completed to a high standard? I have my doubts.
So next time you see a job advert where the employer asks for candidates to have the ability to multitask, you can be secure in the knowledge that their expectations are too high and they’re being unreasonable.