Consumer Insights · Media Strategy · Brand Planning | Los Angeles, CA

Multi-Tasking Test Proves It: I’m Focused, Man

Poo-pooing multi-tasking seems to be in fashion lately, and there’s probably something to it. Humans have limited processing power, and when it gets spread among too many things, we probably don’t do any of them as well as we could. That said, a certain amount of doing-five-things-att-once is simply ingrained in our culture, professional and otherwise. 

As I go about my day, I’m constantly bombarded by communication, updates, t0-do’s and other things that demand my attention to one extent or another. Simply figuring out what to do with it all requires some bandwidth. Then, there’s the reality that at any moment, something could crop up that rearranges my whole day. I don’t think I’m unique, or even unusual in this way. I’d bet that as the authors of the above articles were typing, they probably got text messages and emails and kept one eye on a Twitter feed  too. So if that’s how it has to be, how good are we at it?

VentureBeat pointed me to a multi-tasking test on OpenBlog. It had two exercises: one that tested ability to focus and respond to a prompt quickly, and a spacial task that required balancing several spacial tasks at once, via the keyboard. Both tested a more instantaneous type of multitasking, i.e. how you handle things changing within seconds, or managing things literally happening at the same time. It’s the kind of cognition required to talk on the phone and type an email at the same time, rather than to switch from checking emails to running a budget report, for example. So how’d I do?

Pretty much killed it on the first exercise. I was more focused and had a faster response time than average. The second test I performed slightly below average. Spacial tasks have never been my forte, so no big surprise there. I’m not sure what any of this says about me, but I like to think it means I can shift gears pretty quickly. How did you do?

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