I think it is safe to say that 90% of the human beings roaming the planet these days have no discernible skills whatsoever. They are the unskilled. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I’m sure many of them are lovely people — charming, fun to be around, occasionally they even pick up the tab at a sushi restaurant. But they’re not good at anything.
If this is the case, and 9 out of 10 of us are lousy at almost everything we do, then why are we so dead set on multitasking? Is this the people version of the Las Vegas Buffet? — Nothing tastes good but you sure get a lot of different mediocre things to choose from!
But multitasking has become more than just a minor buffet-style annoyance to me. Multitasking infringes on my personal quality of life — and sometimes my very safety (and anyone who has driven on the freeway behind an out of control text messaging teen knows what I’m talking about). I know in the corporate world multitasking is one of the most sought-after skills. I dare you to find a resume that doesn’t include the phrase “excellent multitasker” somewhere on it.
But are we really good at it? Stanford University has a study that says absolutely no. And there is ample evidence in history that multitasking causes more problems than it solves. Want proof? Here’s just a few classic examples off the top of my head:
GREAT MULTITASKING FIASCOES IN HISTORY:
Fall of the Roman Empire (“Hey, why don’t we conquer half the globe and attempt to rule it all at the same time? We’re up for that, right?”)
Orgies (Wow, good idea — mediocre sex all around!)
Transformers (It’s a car, it’s a robot, no — it’s a shitty movie)
Metropolitan ice cream (pick a flavor and commit, damn it!)
Madonna’s acting career (self-explanatory)
Sarah Palin (I’ll run for office and keep my daughter unpregnant at the same time!… Whoops)
Taco salad (It’s light and healthy. No, it’s greasy Mexican food. Voila — the 1,300 calorie salad!)
The space shuttle (It’s a rocket and it’s an airplane! No wait, it blew up again.)
Bill Clinton alone in the oval office (“I’m signing legislation and I’m… er… close the door please.. “)
Cirque de Soilel (It’s for kids. No, it’s insufferably pretentious art. Hey, great idea — let’s invent a really boring circus)
Star Wars: The Special Editions (It’s Star Wars, plus another busy and distracting Star Wars slapped right on top! Wait, what is that thing that just scurried across the back of the scene? )
Fat free potato chips (Yummy! Greasy snacks but no fat whatsoever. Oops, I just crapped myself…)
High School Musical (It’s for kids… and pedophiles. Ooops!)