Sunday, February 24, 2008


People say they multi-task, but they don't. When they think they do, they distribute their resources among whatever tasks they are doing and the end results are proportionate. "Sure, I can do email on my blackberry and listen to you at the same time"....[a few minutes later] "what? sorry, i missed that, ....".

There is no such thing as human multi-tasking. However, there is microtasking. The sequential run through of a large amount of small activities in a relatively short amount of time. I don't mean breaking megatasks down into mircotasks in any conscious way, but microtasks are things like: clearing up/adding things to TODO lists, responding to quick email questions that are 2 sentences or less, locating something online, putting dishes into dishwasher, response to an IM, signing forms, addressing envelopes, paying bills...things that can happen very quickly and require very little thought, just action.

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