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Bad Examples of Multi-tasking


Some things go hand-in-hand. Love and marriage. Peanut butter and jelly. Even peanut butter and chocolate.

In an effort to get things done and manage our time, we multi-task. And sometimes we take it to an extreme.




georgeFor example, is it really necessary to take (or make) a call while going to the bathroom? Yet I’ve seen guys standing at the urinal while talking on their phones. If you make this a practice, do you flush?



marylynnI was in a store a few days ago. The woman behind the counter was vacuuming while she talked on the phone. I just don’t know how you combine those two tasks effectively.


Can you walk and text at the same time?

We’ve all heard about texting while driving. Well apparently, there’s been an outbreak in emergency rooms of people who were texting while walking. They’re missing the step off the curb and falling into cracks. And they end up needing medical treatment.

Maybe the old question, “can you walk and chew gum at the same time”, needs to be revised!

Cruise control isn’t automatic pilot!

Unfortunately, this next one is also a true story. A woman purchased a new Winnebago. On her first trip down the road, she set the cruise control in her new motor home. Then she left the driver’s seat and went to the back to make herself a sandwich. Needless to say the vehicle crashed. Winnebago now includes instructions in their owner’s manual to explicitly warn against this form of multi-tasking!

Tossing the salad

Our favorite example, though, is the Seinfeld episode where Kramer installed a garbage disposal in his shower. He loved to shower, but it took up too much time. So he started multi-tasking. Among other things, with the disposal installed, he found he could make dinner while he showered.

Once his dinner guests found out how their dinner had been prepared, they nearly tossed their salad!

What bad multi-tasking examples can you think of? 


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The Riskiest Thing Most of Us Do Every Day

drivingWe saw a great post by John Grohol at PsychCentral called Distracted While Driving. He really caught our attention with one thought. We allow ourselves to be distracted while we drive because we think we’re playing a race against time. In reality, we’re playing against the odds.

A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved someone who was distracted within three seconds of the event. 


georgeI plead guilty as charged. I have to admit to using my car as a roaming second office. I store up phone messages and return calls while I’m on the road. .


marylynnI’m in the car on a busy, busy day with all these things rolling through my mind. That’s one of the distractions that we often don’t take into account. I zone out … I don’t really pay attention like I should. I’m in my own world. .


Psychologists have identified four types of distractions, according to Grohol’s article.

  • Visual … checking out an accident or looking at a billboard
  • Audible … cell phone calls, the radio, or another person talking
  • Physical … eating, flipping the dial, shuffling your iPod, or putting on make-up
  • Cognitive … daydreaming, thinking about other things in your life

Of course, a lot of distractions are multi-faceted. For example, talking on your cell phone includes three of these – audible, physical, and cognitive.


marylynnI really do think it saves time. We have a friend who consults with us. He talks to us when he’s on his hour-and-a-half commute home. I can understand why you would use your phone when you have that long drive.


georgeI won’t dispute that at all, but I now realize more than ever that I have to recognize the odds of something happening and take measures to try to minimize the distractions.


Changes we plan to make

  • Leave earlier. When we have a lengthy trip, we usually don’t give ourselves the time to stop and eat. We gas, grab, and go … eating on the road. Leaving earlier will allow us time to stop and eat. We’ll probably eat healthier, too!
  • Ignore the phone. Granted, that’s a hard thing to do. So we’re going to turn our ringers off when we’re only going to be in the car for a short time.
  • Change our greetings. If we’re expecting an important call, we’ll change the greeting to let them know when we will be checking our messages.
  • Pull over (if we can). For those rare situations where we have to take the call, we’ll stop driving momentarily.

What's your biggest distraction while driving? 


(Image by krilm)