My take on multitasking

On Fridays (this week on a Saturday) I will choose a topic on which to give my take. Take being a nice word for opinion. I will simply share my thoughts on whatever random topic comes to mind. I look forward to seeing where this section leads us.


I have a friend who recently told me she spent four hours listening to an audiobook whilst working on a 1,000 piece puzzle. She got halfway done with the puzzle, and I have no doubt she retained everything to which she listened.

I, on the other hand, can’t start an audiobook until after I start the workout feature on my watch; otherwise, I miss everything in the interim. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I can listen to an audiobook and exercise at the same time.

I seem to be able to do physical things whilst listening to an audiobook, but forget about me doing anything else that engages my mind, like reading or sorting mail.

When I was looking for a job out of college and then again last year, multitasking is one of the required skills often listed by employers. This is interesting given that recent research shows true multitasking is a myth. 

I’m not sure if other people can multitask or not, but I know I cannot. For example, I like to listen to instrumental music while I read (typically Hans Zimmer soundtracks), and I can “listen” to an entire soundtrack without hearing any of the songs. I become so entrenched in my book that I don’t hear anything else going on around me. 

The same thing happens while I am in the car and listening to music. Thankfully, I can listen to audiobooks while I drive, though I sometimes zone out and never know exactly when my trance started. I typically don’t try to backtrack on my audiobooks because it would take me forever to finish one. 

I am slightly ADS (Attention Deficit—Squirrel!) which doesn’t help my multitasking abilities. I don’t profess to have the wherewithal to say, text someone and converse with someone else at the same time, or to be able to watch TV and read a book simultaneously. I can technically do them at the same time, but one thing is neglected in the process. If I’m texting or reading, the other things happening around me don’t even exist anymore. 

I’ve accepted my inability to multitask, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with lacking this skill—if it is even possible to have in the first place.

2 Replies to “My take on multitasking”

  1. I’m only good at multi-tasking when it involves two to three different sensory functions. Seeing and hearing, hearing and touch, touch and seeing…you get the point. Rarely can I do things that require the same sensory functions. Reading and listening to Dustin say something is one of the most challenging. I usually have to stop reading if he’s going to say more than a sentence or two.

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    1. Interesting. I’m very good at saying “uh-huh” while someone is talking to me as I’m reading or texting, but I’m not really doing either thing well in those instances. Listening is especially hard for me, even if I’m just sitting listening to a sermon and not engaged in anything else. I’m a visual learner, so purely auditory things are hard for me. Classrooms seem to be the exception, I can do a bit better during lectures, especially if there is a PowerPoint and/or other visuals.

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