As I write this little blog, I am currently metabolising a coffee from an hour ago. At the exact same time I am losing hair and skin elasticity while gaining age and weight.

That’s about the full extent of my ability to multitask; if I were now to attempt an additional task (say, booking plane tickets or checking my emails or holding up my end of a conversation) my attention would be split into two lots of 50%; I’d be doing two things, badly.

When tasks multiply, attention divides.

And that equation can only ever get worse; imagine the horror of 100 important jobs all given just 1% of the care and attention they deserve.

Even if I use every brain-boosting exercise and app in the book there’s no getting around it; I only have 100% to give… and that’s on a good day. If I’m hungry or tired or stressed (or in any one of a dozen unhelpful States of Mind) I might struggle to perform above 30%.

Even then, I might be genuinely productive for no more than about 40 minutes before I hit a mental block or lose focus; luckily, there’s always other work waiting to be done, as a change of task usually resets my attention clock for another 40 minutes or so.

Experience has taught me that switching tasks like this makes the best use of my limited capacity so by the end of the day I’ve done half a dozen things as well as I possibly can.

I call it Monotasking and (unlike multitasking) it actually works.

Ok, that’s enough of that… if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to do something else.


Written by Jason

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.