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Subject: Multitasking VS singletasking rss

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Jojo Conwell
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Maybe its because, I am 30 and grew up in a modern school setting of grade school and college run by women; but I have usually heard that multitasking is an extremely valuable skill in today's work environment.

I was delightfully surprised by my dad when he said that single tasking was a better way to accomplish things, since I agree since I perform far better when single tasking.

Men are generally better at single-tasking, and women are generally better at multi-tasking.

What do you think? (Feel free to provide personal examples and outside evidence)

Happy gaming,
Joe
 
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T. Nomad
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Most of the research I've read about suggests that no one is as good at multitasking as they are at singletasking. This makes eminent sense: focusing on a task, giving it your full attention, will always generate better results than not doing so. Everyone from the Buddha to my grandfather knew that.
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John O'Haver
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I second Mr. Nomad's remarks. Much of what I've read lately suggests multi-tasking has been discredited by productivity studies as a mythical ability. However, it continues to be in demand by people who are reluctant to hire enough people to do the job correctly.
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Simon Lundström
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Has anyone any scientific research that concludes that men generally are worse multi-taskers? I'm starting to think it's only a rumour…
 
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John O'Haver
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generalpf wrote:


I can so relate to this article!!!! My immediate superior once told me I have to learn to multi-task. I replied, "No. I'd rather do it right the first time."

I'd give ya another thumb if I could.
 
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Zimeon wrote:
Has anyone any scientific research that concludes that men generally are worse multi-taskers? I'm starting to think it's only a rumour…
From what I've read, that could be true. Given traditional gender roles, women were the ones taking care of kids and doing housework. That includes things including but not limited changing diapers, laundry, cooking dinner, sewing, cleaning the house.... given how busy some of these housewives were, they probably didn't have time to do one at a time. If it takes 3 hours to make food for the family, a single threaded process would likely take too long. Why take 3 hours to cook food + 2 hours to clean the house if they could be "multitasked" into a combined total of 4 hours?

Men on the other hand, I believe were more singleminded in their work. Chopping wood, stalking deer, lawyer, or even a 20th century office (bef blackberries, cell, and computers) like getting the account or inventory.

Anyways, that's my guess. This argument is less now that women are doing more stuff men are, while some men are even opting to stay at home and handle business there.
 
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Jojo Conwell
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Thanks, generalpf, for the article.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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If I couldn't multitask, there is no way I could write this response on BGG while on the phone with my wife as I eat my Thai Chili Chicken and run web optimization analysis at the same time.

I'd have to quit my job just to continue the essential stuff.
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Ted Groth
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No question that any task done while multitasking is not done as well as when single tasking. Something is lost, either in the quality of the work completed or time spent on each task.
But multitasking can make sense if both of two conditions are met:
1) The total time spent multitasking is less than the total time spent singletasking all of the various tasks in series, and
2) The quality of the results isn't critical.

This explains the example of housework & cooking: Generally there are some efficiency gains because one can wipe up something as ovens heat up, pasta boils, dough rises, etc. and a fairly clean house and and a reasonably well cooked dinner may not be perfect, but clean sheets in a bedroom with a few specks of dust in the corner, or pasta that is just a little overdone are still satisfying, so this is a success. (and still an awful lot of work)

Multitasking when stalking prey for your survival doesn't work as well: If you are busy tying flies and happen look down when waiting along a deer trail and as a result just almost make a perfect shot at a passing deer, that means you missed the deer, and you probably dropped your half-finished fly into the brush and it is lost or unravelled, or the hook is stuck in your hand, so this is a complete failure.

Yes these tasks are stereotypes, but I never said whether men or women were involved with each task. But a number of the tasks that are stereotypically assigned to women do allow and even require multitasking, while those stereotypically assigned to men do not allow for successful multitasking. I'm not going to guess whether women are naturally better at multitasking, or have simply been forced to do so more often. By the way, I am a guy, and I love the outdoors, but no, I don't hunt or fish. I do cook well, and I enjoy it, but the argument could easily be made that I don't really clean house very much, so I could be an example of a man that doesn't multitask in a situation where a woman typically might. But then I am resistant to house cleaning even if I have nothing else happening at the same time.yuk

The critical point about multitasking is that if a moment of inattention can hurt a task, then multitasking is a recipe for failure. If the outcome isn't critical then multitasking can work OK, and can even prevent boredom. Some tasks really are dead boring, and can be made less stressful by introducing a second activity.

Generally multitasking when you are supposed to be interacting with someone is rude, as it suggests that they are either boring or unimportant or both. And since this is BGG, it is worth noting this implication of unimportance is why mulitasking when playing games is generally not appropriate. One of the reasons for playing a game is the interaction. If that is compromised, then the gaming experience is compromised. Not to mention the likelihood of game delays.
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