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Multi-tasking vs. Task Switching

posted Mar 18, 2011, 7:16 AM by Phil Spitze

In almost every job interview I’ve ever had, I’ve been asked the question: How are you at multi-tasking?  As most of us know, this has been a common workplace buzzword for many years now, but I’ve come to a new conclusion: multi-tasking is neither efficient, nor productive.  Instead, I recommend developing your task switching skills.  I base this on one of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha: being mindful, or specifically the three steps of the Noble Eightfold Path dealing with concentration: Right Effort, Right Mindfullness, and Right Concentration. (The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Buddhist Wisdom, Gill Farrer-Halls, p74-79)

All three of these steps of the Noble Eightfold Path seek to enhance the control you have over your mind and help you achieve a single-pointed mind which is a prerequisite to attaining wisdom and enlightenment. (The Tree of Enlightenment, Dr. Peter Della Santina, p62-63)

In business, and practially, in all activites we undertake, we should be mindful of what we are doing; we should work to achieve a single-pointed mind focused on the task at hand.  This will have many benefits including accuracy, efficiency, and thoroughness.

By approaching each task or activity we undertake with complete dedication of the mind, we will not only strengthen our “mind muscle” through mindful repetitions, but we will enjoy better results and may even find more efficient ways of completing those tasks.

-PHIL