It's sort of like the normal version of attention deficit disorder. But it's a condition induced by modern life, in which you've become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving.
I'd say we are learning and trying to become better and this micro-switching, multi-threading process that is quite inefficient. I have been trying to achieve better focus by shutting down Twitter and Facebook and email when I am trying to write. IM is like the ultimate distraction, and Twitter is just like IM with lots of folks. So, if you want to get something done, TURN IT ALL OFF.
No one really multitasks. You just spend less time on any one thing.
"No one really multitasks. You just spend less time on any one thing. [yes, read it again, learn it, love it]
"When it looks like you're multitasking–you're looking at one TV screen and another TV screen and you're talking on the telephone – your attention has to shift from one to the other. You're brain literally can't multitask. You can't pay attention to two things simultaneously. You're switching back and forth between the two. So you're paying less concerted attention to either one.
"I think in general, why some people can do well at what they call multitasking is because the effort to do it is so stimulating. You get adrenaline pumping that helps focus your mind. What you're really doing is focusing better at brief spurts on each stimulus. So you don't get bored with either one."
And another great adrenaline producing dysfunction is procrastinating. By giving ourselves less time to complete a project we up the anxiety and thus can generate additional energy. The wrong kind of energy in my opinion, but I can't count the number of times I preferred an all-nighter to really dig into a project and get the creative wackiness flowing. The come down was a problem, but that 2am to 5am space was full of silence and great imaginings.
So in the GTD sense of things, figure out what you need to get done and turn off everything else while you do it. And if you find yourself procrastinating and not getting to the project, perhaps you should evaluate what you are gaining by reducing your available project development time. It might be that a 15 minute walk outside could get your creative juices flowing better than putting off the task. And then again there is always the magic 2 – 5 time slot.