Multitasking versus Focusing

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As the pace of life speeds up, many of us are expected to pick up a new skill known as multitasking. We are tasked with handling numerous assignments and responsibilities at the same time. While this is often considered an exception 20 years ago, this is becoming more of a norm in recent years.

Consider a customer service executive for instance. He or she will have to attend to incoming customers over the counter while attending to incoming calls and handling incoming issues sent via emails by customers. Sometimes, things happen simultaneously and not consecutively.

While this skill is essential in coping with the work in office, efficiency may take a plunge. The employee may be worn out over time or there may be some slight hiccups during the course of his or her work. Therefore, the old way of being focused still works best.

Employees can’t focus all the time in this time and age, else nothing will get done. However, it is possible to prioritise all matters requiring attention and focus on them. This is especially so for challenging tasks such as handling customers’  issues. Being focused does assure the customers that their matters are being attended to and more importantly, they are being listened to.

Within the context of the classroom, students should be given ample time to think through a question before being asked another. It’s advisable not to move on to the next question till the student has provided his or her views. This is especially so when you consider small-group discussion sessions.  

Some feel that a small distraction such as listening to music while doing an assignment or typing an email is the norm. They consider it effective multitasking. I feel that way in the past too. Well, until I remove my ear phones that is.

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