When Multitasking Might Make Sense

Do you consider yourself an adept multitasker?  At a recent WPO (Women Presidents Organization) meeting, I learned something interesting on this subject from my friend Carol Richards, president at Northcoast Education Service.  The topic of our WPO meeting was time management and juggling priorities.  Carol explained the difference between associative tasks and cognitive tasks.

 

Associative tasks are things that you can do more than one of at a time. For example, most of us can drive a car and carry on a conversation with the passenger at the same time. However, if the weather suddenly turns bad and we are in the middle of a hazardous rainstorm, all of our concentration must be focused on the task of driving. Cognitive tasks require full concentration.  They take all of our focus and keep us from being able to do anything else in combination with the task. 

 

This helped me to understand why I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing multiple “associative” tasks at the same time.  I find it a good way to gain momentum and a feeling of accomplishment before having to focus and tackle the bigger ‘cognitive’ task that requires focus and concentration.  How about you—are you the same way?