Thursday, September 15, 2005

Multi-Tasking at work - a skill or a necessity?



Its just been one of those crazy weeks at work with tons of stuff happening and suddenly my office is swamped with all these mounds of paperwork, tons of emails and calls that i need to attend to and newer employee issues that constantly keep springing up.

I find myself speaking to 2 people on the phone, printing out a resume for a candidate whom we want to bring in for an interview, skim thro my emails and reply to the ones that need my utmost attention and also crunch on my cereal bar on the side. Am i multi-tasking or what?

I do this every minute in a 8 hour work day during hectic days and sometimes for a few hours in a less crazy day. I know that i always used to multi-task even as a kid- i would want to eat that special dish made by my mom and also want to try out a new dress and play with a toy too. During high school and college days, many times a group study or record-writing process involved the TV or radio playing in the background and some snacks at the side. I was multi-tasking then too. Now, at work and even at home, with the number of chores that need to be done in a DINKS (Double Income No Kids) home, i know not how i can manage to multi-task. I think thatz the best part of my job that i like to do. If i were to sit at a desk and think of writing code or designing a chip or thinking of one problem to solve, i can't see myself in that position.

Some of my girl-friends tell me that this is how they function too by managing both careers and family and having a social life too. I wonder what the male counterparts think about this trait-I know from my "better half" that to him the challenge of his job is to concentrate and focus on the fundamental aspects of electronics in designing chips. He says that the greatest satisfaction comes in delving deep and finding that fundamental bug that causes his chip not to work.

Is this multi-tasking a woman's arena then or does it come as a second-nature to them? Makes me ponder.....................

9 comments:

Sundar Narayanan said...

guys are like wild animals.. if your tiger doesnt sit when you ask him to , guess you have to become a better ring master !

:)

I know someone who can give you good tips on the subject.

tt_giant said...

Personally, I like to do one thing at a time. I get irritated if I am interrupted when doing something seriously. Especially, if it is research/development oriented.

But I should also add that I listen to music continously when I work. Not sure if that is multi-tasking!.

mitr_bayarea said...

Sundar- hmm..guess i could use more training than i already have acquired within the past year...thanks :)

ttg- you can categorize listening to music in the background and working on R&D as multi-tasking, but if you are good at your job and happy with your result, who cares?

Katpadi Murali said...

I Wish you read the Book "Why Men Never Remember and Woman Never Forget" by Marianne J.Legato, M.D. F.A.C.P and Laura Tucker(Published by Rodale). I read the Excerpts of this Book. You are sure to get an answer for your Question.

mitr_bayarea said...

katpadi_murali: thanks for the reference book. That will be my next reading, will see if i find answers for my queries there.

Raju said...

Good post..

We too love multi-tasking.. Like talking to wife on the phone in the middle of some really hectic work (cant afford to miss either, u see..), reading for exams with a big eye on the cricket match, etc.

mitr_bayarea said...

Gp: Thanks, interesting to know that some men do enjoy multi-tasking and have been doing it.

Balaji said...

i'm in the same club as ttg. do 1 thing at a time and do it good :-) found that i can't do full justice to any of the tasks if i multitask...

mitr_bayarea said...

balaji-thanks for the reply, doesn't seem surprising to see people replying both ways, but i do conclude with the thought that most men like to focus on one task at a time and not multi-task. Guess this is one of the areas that distinguish the male and female functioning styles.