by Rauf Fadzilla

Now that's what I call multitasking! 
If 21st century life makes you feel like somebody with a constant (and severe) case of attention deficit disorder, fear not, you are not alone.
Being able to juggle more than two things at any one time and focus on completing all your tasks at the same time is a necessary skill for any aspiring domestic hero.

Being able to multitask will work wonders not just for your domestic life but also your professional life and in the long run better prepare you to cope with the lightning pace of a world that increasingly makes it impossible to focus on just one thing at a time.

The delicate ability to balance different roles and duties as well as wear many different hats is a skill that men (more so than women) must make a conscious effort to develop; whether keeping an ear open for the baby while he's in the toilet or vacuuming the living room while a kettle of boiling water screeches on the stove. Often, men find it hard to even hear what family members are saying to them when sitting in front of the laptop or television screen. Women on the other hand seem to have an innate (evolutionary) ability to multitask but many could do with a bit more of a nudge in the right direction.
Multitasking can be the most efficient way to reduce your productivity.
The more you multitask, the less you accomplish. Try running and reading a book; that's really not so different from say, working on two projects on your computer at the same time or trying to drive while thumbing through phone numbers on your Blackberry. Regardless of what people say, you may think you are doing a lot, but you eventually end up accomplishing nothing…like a car with its tires spinning in a pit of mud.
Several studies show that people who multitask work faster, but produce less. After you’re interrupted by another task, it takes about 25 minutes (sometimes up to 45 minutes) to return to your primary job, according to the 2005 study “No Task Left Behind? Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work.”
Because of the pace of modern life, most of us try to juggle multiple tasks at once in the hopes that we'll get everything done at the same time. Rest assured that's not going to happen.

However, today's domestic male has had to learn to adapt out of necessity to the various roles required of him at home and at work.
Domestic multitasking can be tricky. It requires an extra set of ears, eyes and limbs but also a well honed ability to flip successfully and ‘zone out’ the other things that are going on around you while at the same time continuing to pay attention to them and registering their presence.
Single out tasks in order to yield good results and free yourself from the stress of overloading your senses as well as reduce your margin of error and the tendency to commit mistakes.
Effective and efficient multitasking is not about doing more than one thing at one, it is about prioritising tasks.
If you're a computer scientist by trade, you'd probably know that when attempting to multitask, it helps to think like a computer or a well oiled machine. Batch processing, figuring out which compartments of the system come first (and which last) all create a seasoned workflow. A concise framework which puts all the core duties at the center of the system will also help you to improve focus.

So how can we improve our task-juggling abilities, break down large chores into chunky little ones and compartmentalise our thoughts? These abilities begin as all things do, with the mind...

How many tasks can you actually flick between at any one time before you begin to lose your ability to focus and do the best job you can? By being honest with yourself and understanding your limits you will be better equipped to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Understand and manage your energy levels and attention span in order to be fully focused. The more things you try to get done at once, the more you will find that you need shorter bursts of activity. Also, identifying those things that steal your full attention (Example: changing the baby's diapers) from those that don’t enables you to streamline the work that you do.

Identify real tasks from hidden multitasks (tasks within tasks). Accept that you cannot be on top of everything and delegate tasks that you cannot (or should not do) appropriately. This can be an opportunity for your natural ingenuity to shine. I had a friend once who was almost in his 60's when he created a computer program (in Python) to process the data he needed for the newspaper he worked for instead of sifting through them one by one. Now that's thinking out of the box! Remember that it is only worth multitasking if you are actually going to get more done in a period of time than you would do otherwise.

Digital Multitasking
The Internet is a Godsend for multitasking in the 21st century. For those of you blessed with broadband or a relatively fast connection, make full use of the time you spend online to shop for groceries while checking your mail and checking your daily project schedule at the same time (digital multitasking). Sites such as Crowdstorm allow you to get all your shopping done at the click of a button.
Enjoy the work
Finally, one thing to always remember is that whilst you are trying to do two things at once, you are unlikely to be getting the total enjoyment you can get from throwing yourself into a task entirely. Life is not always about how much you can achieve in the time given, but about how much you get out of that time. Life is short. Remember that.

As mentioned earlier, effective multitasking is undoubtedly, a mental ability, cultivated over time and through the right conditioning practices. Practice your multitasking skills using these nifty online tools.

Free exercise at

Think you’re a good multitasker? Know someone who thinks they are? Here’s your chance to put your skills to this test! David Crenshaw hosts useful multitasking exercises as well as live keynote speeches and workshops.

Pix Credit:

Exercise your mind and multitasking capabilities with Fourstoil brought to you by GamesLark! Play 4 mini-games simultaneously for as long as you can. The speed of the game increases gradually, so stay focused and enjoy.