Thursday, May 24, 2007

Multi-tasking vs. Juggling - Ambiguous Difference or Crystal Clear

Couple of weeks ago, someone I like to think of as a mentor, very nonchalantly called me a ‘Superwoman’ and an epitome of ‘juggling’. Well, to be fair, the person is really au fait with my lifestyle. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, New York Times published an article that discussed the nuances & menace of multi-tasking. I agree with the article; however, I think people confuse multi-tasking with juggling and often times base their opinions inaccurately. For instance, watching the morning news on TV while reading the newspaper & at the same time trying to indulge in breakfast while answering your emails on BlackBerry, qualifies for multi-tasking. I am not arguing for it as I agree that the quality of result/ outcome, out of multi-tasking, is questionable. These people arrive at the precipice of exhaustion rather early in their lives. There is evidence from MRI’s to show that the brain is not equipped to focus on more than one task at a time. If forced to multi-task, there is a neural bottleneck, and everything takes just a little bit longer.

Juggling on the other hand is the ability to partake in multifarious chores within a span of time BUT you handle them one-by-one. The main difference between a multi - tasker and a juggler is in the method of work. They are both like prestidigitators - handle multitudinous activities BUT the former indulges in all the tasks at the same time while the latter handles one task at a time.

What is the quality of outcome from juggling? Well, I am a juggler so I may not be the best person to answer this question – I definitely have a biased opinion. What I do know is that we live in a day and age where juggling does not seem like an alternative. With the plethora of choices & myriad of opportunities out there, it is hard to avert your face and live in a 'bubble of denial'.

I do not know many people from my generation who are not neither multi-taskers nor jugglers. It seems like it is incumbent upon people to be one way or the other.

Copyright © 05.24.2007

“Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds” - Oscar Wilde


Anonymous said...

you are awesome! you made the difference 'crystal clear'.

a said...

Juggling it is for me...

bcs said...

Pardon me for my poor vocubalary,but juggling as you define had never an alternative since the beginning of human civilisation.But more mortals treat this as multi tasking.Multi tasking as mentioned is really a "messup".