The Myth of Multitasking Book Summary - The Myth of Multitasking Book explained in key points
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The Myth of Multitasking summary

Dave Crenshaw

How “Doing-It-All” Gets Nothing Done

4.3 (81 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

"The Myth of Multitasking" by Dave Crenshaw argues that multitasking is a myth and that it's actually counterproductive. The book provides practical tips and strategies for how to focus on one task at a time and increase productivity.

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    The Myth of Multitasking
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    There’s no such thing as multitasking, only active and passive switchtasking.

    These days, with more ways than ever to be connected and communicate with one another, it can feel like there’s an endless supply of tasks that demand to be juggled all at once.

    Appropriately enough, the traditional way of dealing with multiple tasks at once was to multitask.

    But here’s the thing: multitasking is a lie. A more accurate name for this method of working is switchtasking, and it is an inefficient and inadequate way of getting things done.

    The human brain is an impressive thing to behold, but it doesn’t perform well when you attempt to focus on more than one thing at a time.

    There are plenty of studies to back this up, including a recent one from Vanderbilt University. Researchers couldn’t find a single piece of neurological evidence to suggest that the human brain is capable of taking on more than one task at a time.

    What the brain can do is switch back and forth, from one task to another. It can do this quickly enough to give you the impression that it is multitasking, but what it is really doing is switchtasking.

    Now, there are two different kinds of switchtasking: you can either make active switches or passive switches.

    Active switches happen in situations you create yourself, such as deciding to check your e-mail while talking to someone on the phone. These would be switches that you are actively making.

    Passive switches happen in situations that are initiated by something or someone else. An example of this would be when you’re facing a deadline and, in the middle of preparing documents, a coworker decides to stop by and start talking to you. Here, you’re being asked to switch your attention between the documents and your coworker.

    In the blinks ahead, we’ll take a closer look at why these switches are so harmful to your work and what you can do to reduce them in the workplace.

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    What is The Myth of Multitasking about?

    The Myth of Multitasking (2009) reveals an important truth: that the concept of multitasking is a lie that we’ve been buying into for far too long. The truth is that the human mind is not built to divide its focus, and if you want quality work done in an efficient, timely manner, you need to take things on one at a time.

    The Myth of Multitasking Review

    The Myth of Multitasking (2008) by Dave Crenshaw is an eye-opening book that challenges our belief in the effectiveness of multitasking. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through compelling examples and research, it reveals the truth behind multitasking - that it's actually a myth - and provides strategies for improving focus and productivity.
    • The book offers practical tips and tools to help readers overcome the urge to multitask and become more efficient and effective in their work and personal lives.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable anecdotes, the book keeps readers hooked, ensuring that the topic of focus and productivity remains anything but dull.

    Who should read The Myth of Multitasking?

    • Overworked entrepreneurs and company owners
    • Parents and spouses who want to spend more time with their families
    • Stressed-out readers

    About the Author

    Dave Crenshaw is a highly sought-after business coach who has helped improve companies around the world. His writing has appeared in publications such as Time magazine and the Washington Post. His fourth book, The Power of Having Fun, is due to be published in the fall of 2017.

    © Dave Crenshaw: The Myth of Multitasking copyright 2008, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    The Myth of Multitasking FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Myth of Multitasking?

    The main message of The Myth of Multitasking is that multitasking is a myth and focusing on one task at a time leads to greater productivity and success.

    How long does it take to read The Myth of Multitasking?

    The reading time for The Myth of Multitasking varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Myth of Multitasking a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Myth of Multitasking is worth reading because it provides valuable insights and practical tips for improving focus and productivity.

    Who is the author of The Myth of Multitasking?

    The author of The Myth of Multitasking is Dave Crenshaw.

    What to read after The Myth of Multitasking?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Myth of Multitasking, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • The Hidden Habits of Genius by Craig Wright
    • The Idea Is the Easy Part by Brian Dovey