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Monday, July 15, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 04/16

Up Front 04/16

According to Wikipedia, human multitasking is ‘an apparent human ability to perform more than one task, or activity, at the same time.’ It cites an example: ‘taking phone calls while typing an email and reading a book.’ This seems like an ambitious example. Thankfully, it then goes on to explain that multitasking can cause errors because we don’t pay enough attention to each particular task—which would seem blatantly obvious to most of us. Despite one or two studies suggesting that multitasking can be useful in certain situations, the general consensus is that it reduces the efficiency and quality of our work. Mind you, try telling that to a teenager, (or even a parent), who is texting, checking Snapchat and watching TV at the same time. But human multitasking isn’t exactly new. Mothers have been cooking, cleaning, looking after children and talking with their friends all at the same time since we first came out of the caves, and between driving whilst listening to music, marking exam papers whilst watching the footie and talking on the phone at the same time as chopping vegetables, it seems we have been multifunctional for a very long time. So perhaps it is only when we are dealing with distracting technology that it all goes wrong. It is often said that men can’t multitask while women can—I think I may have proved that (again) earlier this month. Whilst doing some background research for the piece about Hazel O Connor in this month’s issue I read various articles, watched interviews and videos and went back through my record collection to remind myself of what she had been up to. At one point, whilst talking on the phone to a friend, I casually scanned the internet to see if there had been a biography I might download as there wasn’t time to order a hard copy. Sure enough Hazel had done a tour of an autobiographical show called Beyond Breaking Glass. Whilst chatting I clicked, purchased and downloaded my useful resource and after putting the phone down took a closer look at my purchase, only to find that I was now the proud owner of Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding by Nancy H. Wiener. Not quite what I had in mind, but who knows, with four children it might be useful one day…

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