Author Topic: Brain Games - Multi-tasking  (Read 127 times)

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Mac

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Brain Games - Multi-tasking
« on: January 03, 2012, 01:44:13 pm »
Brain Games Ė Multi-tasking

This is more about my current work situation, than techie geeky stuff...

At work, the subject of Multi-tasking has taken on many faces and perspectives as the idea of it has evolved over time. Honestly I donít know the official stance of the companyís philosophy today. Doesnít matter. It comes down to individual capabilities. As I get older I believe itís impossible to multi-task well, as if at all. I guess everybody has their opinion on what multi-tasking is. I know an awful lot of people who think they can do it. The core skill though is doing those tasks fully and well. The younger generation in particular think they have the skill down pat.

(grin)

A real issue Iím facing now is my co-worker/mentor. He swears he is good at multi-tasking. I swear he is not. He is good at his job and what he does, but when it comes to collaborating with others, the communication diminishes quickly. He does not have a good way of transferring that knowledge and unfortunately I am the recipient of this chaotic mess. I am to learn from scratch the skills and knowledge he knows. He tells me I need to come over several times a day and shoot him questions. This is his idea of teaching me. Iíve got a million questions, but isnít this wasting my time and his? The kicker is that his multi-tasking skills involve me asking him those questions while he literally is writing text or engaging in virtual meetings. You can see my frustration with this kind of Ďteachingí.

So recently the National Geographic channel broadcast Brain Games.

If you go to ĎAttentioní and then watch videos, part of the presentation is there.

A fascinating look at how our brains perceive things. One segment in particular was on multi-tasking and looking at our short term memory. The theory was individual were good for 5-7 things. Numbers, events, words, etc. But reality is, itís even less. 2-4 things.

They had on this individual who was rock solid in his belief he does multi-tasking very well. So the scientist wanted to explore this. They set up tests and put this guy through them. He was destroyed. Failed miserably just like most of us would. Our brains are linear or serial. We are limited to the information that comes in. We process things one at a time and switch focus. We cannot receive and do multiple things at the same time. Our brain breaks it up into individual linear items and just switches around.

Which leads me to the core problem. How to deal with my mentor and overcome the inadequacies he brings to the table. Currently his job has turned him into a fireman. He puts out 20 different fires throughout the day. He is good at this. Those fires require only a small amount of his time and not related to one another. My being taught skills while this is going on is a completely different issue.

He has nothing to fear. I have my career to think about. His teaching methods suckÖ at least for me. His personality is another obstacle. He is arrogant and impatient. I can actually handle this on a casual level. I let it roll off my shoulders. But in a working environment, I cannot. I need his knowledge to move forward. The way I see it, I am destined to fail while getting an ulcer.

Iím trying to figure out the best possible way of making this successful. Iím on board with learning and getting this down. But I have to figure out how to deal with this kind of individual and benefit from him.

So far these past few months, Iím either digging into new territory, or sitting on my handsÖ waitingÖ to learn. I whole heartedly believe in asking questions. I will, but I will get to a tipping point of no longer knowing what to ask. This is not learning well.

2012 will be interesting.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 01:48:26 pm by Mac »
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