One task at a time versus task switching

@Porcospino (18396)
Denmark
December 30, 2012 5:44pm CST
Do you like to finish one task, assignment, book etc before you move on to the next one or do you like to start a lot of things and divide your time among those things? Would it bother you to have many unfinished things or do you find it less boring or monotonous to switch between a number of tasks? I like to switch tasks and I often start new things before I finish the other things that I started. When I switch tasks I get a small break from the things I am doing and when I return to that task a little later I have new energy. I do the same thing when I read. I never finish one book before I start reading the next one. I always read multiple books and I switch between the books. I have done that ever since I was a child and I don't find it hard to remember more than one story or read non-fiction books about more than one topic.
2 people like this
10 responses
@ctryhnny (3463)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I have to finish whatever it is I'm doing especially reading a book. I have to finish it before I start another one.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Dec 12
Yeah I agree with you. I like to finish my book. I really like to find out the ending before I start another story. For awhile I haven't read any stories because I have been so busy. But I have recently decided on my break day that I can read some book I like.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
1 Jan 13
It is my impression that most people prefer to finish one book before they start the next one. Some of the people that I have talked to don't understand how I am able to read multiple books at the same time, but I am used to that and I don't find it hard. When I was a child my parents tried to convince me to give up that habit, but today - 25 years later - I still do it and I prefer it that way. Instead of keeping one book next to my bed I keep a small pile of books
@allen0187 (33857)
• Philippines
9 Jan 13
hi there porcospino. how are you my friend? i have been reading your discussions about your last asian vacation and it seems you really had a great time. i wasn't able to comment much as i honestly feel that i won't be adding much substance to the individual discussions. reading your discussions inspired me more to plan and save up for my own asian vacation. lol! anyway, back to the discussion on hand. i'm like you my friend. i also am more inclined to start multiple projects and tasks. i have difficulty keeping my full attention dedicated to one project as i often find myself thinking about other things. rather than fight this urge, i embraced it instead to make the most out of it. for example, i cannot simply be just doing discussions and posting replies at mylot. i would have multiple tabs open, starting new discussions and replying to multiple posts as well. i would also be reading at least two ebooks while i mylot. sometimes, i would also be listening to a podcast or i'll be watching a movie or live sporting event. the same applies when reading books. i would read two to three books at a time and i find that it is more mentally stimulating and rewarding rather than sticking to just one book and finish it to the end. cheers and happy mylotting!!!
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
28 Feb 13
Yes, I had a fantastic time in Asia. We visited 4 different countries on the same trip (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) and I really enjoyed exploring each country. I want to return to Asia in the future. I would like to visit the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia next time, but it will take us a long time to save up for that trip. You wrote that my discussions inspired you to plan and save up for your own vacation in Asia. Which countries would you like to visit? You sound a lot like me because I also do multiple things at the same time. When I am on Mylot I have several tabs open, and I jump around from discussion to discussion. I start my own discussions and try to catch up on the comments on the old discussions. I also respond to discussions started by other members. While I am on Mylot I listen to cds, internet radio or videos from YouTube or I watch a movie. I also have a couple of books next to the computer and I read those books when I take a short break from the internet.
@allen0187 (33857)
• Philippines
2 Mar 13
hi porcospino. i have the same list as yours. i do have hongkong, singapore, and macau as additional countries i want to visit. hong kong and singapore primarily, i want to go becuase i want to take my daughter to the toursits spots there. macau and the rest of the countries in the list, i want to visit for myself. i honestly don't think that my daughter will appreciate those places at her young age. planning to go to singapore and hong kong this summer after the end of my duaghter's school year but that plan has since been shelved. she wants to go to the beach instead and since there are a lot of beautiful beaches here in the philippines, we will be keeping our summer trips in the country only. i think i'm the master of multitasking with the number of tabs that i have open while mylotting. not just with mylotting but with my other offline tasks as well. i know that multitasking is good but i try to limit it as sometimes it adversely affects my output. 'while i mylot i listen to cds, internet radio... i also have a couple of books... i read books when i tkae a short break...', wow! you sound just like me porcospino. doing as much as i can in as little possible time!!! cheers and happy mylotting!!!
1 person likes this
@Dominique25 (9475)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I agree with you. I like to switch between task. It does make it easier and more enjoyable for me. I don't switch between books though. I like to read all of one book and then read another one. I have been working on reading more and I'm enjoy it. Reading helps me relax and it's an expensive way to do it.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
2 Jan 13
I also think that it is more enjoyable to switch between tasks. I often do several things at the same time. I am less likely to get bored if I switch tasks every once in while and when I return to a task after a short break I have new energy and that makes it easier to finish the different tasks. It doesn't bother me to have several unfinished things in front of me and I usually manage to finish the things that I start. Yes, reading is a great way to relax. I love reading and it is one of my favourite activities in my free time. I always read multiple books at the same time and sometimes I read both fiction and non-fiction.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jan 13
Yeah it is good for us to have that new energy. Then we are able to start back with what we are doing. Perhaps then we are also able to work more efficiently after that short break.
1 person likes this
@ARIES1973 (9539)
• Legaspi, Philippines
30 Dec 12
I still believe that finishing one task at a time can be better. Because we cannot focus if we are trying all at the same time. Trying to accomplish things all together would only result to confusion and at the end we haven't finish anything.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
31 Dec 12
I have read that it is better to finish one task at a time because you are more productive that way, and I believe that is true. That means that I am less productive than people who finish one task at a time, because I usually switch tasks. I still prefer to do many things at the same time and switch between them. It is easier for me to get new energy and keep my motivation that way. I don't know, but I would imagine that most people choose to do one thing at a time, so it will be interesting to see what people write in their responses.
@savire (204)
• Indonesia
26 Feb 13
Well there's no mistake with what you are doing. As long as you could have fast time to regain what you should do in another task then that's fine. There's some study regarding this which said that different peoples had different level of context switching abilities. So if you are good with it then just go for it. I always does that too for some times because a freelancer like me tends to have more than one client works not that because I'm greedy but that's because I can't bring my self to decline my regular clients projects because most of them already trusted me with their works and they knew that I work faster so they tends to give me difficult tasks that their regular developer can't handle. Facing with such situation will force me to work at different tasks at the same time. I will need to context switch between tasks. Sometimes even between two different platform. But that's fine because I could still producing a good result. But of course while doing that I can't be bothered with other non-working issue such as family problem, etc. Because each person will had their own number of concurrent work they can handle at once.
1 person likes this
@MissPiggy (1751)
• Indonesia
1 Jan 13
Actually, I am the type of person that finishes things one by one. When I read a book, I will read it until I finish it except if it is boring. However, for the job, I have to switch it very often as my manager often gives me new tasks before I finish the other and sometime this new task has a quick deadline. So want it or not, I have to switch the job.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
28 Feb 13
When I read a really interesting book I tend to finish it before I move on other books, but most of the time I read multiple books and I keep all of books in a pile next to my bed. When I go to bed I decide which book I want to read that evening. I have read multiple books since I started to read and it is not hard for me to keep track of more than one story at a time. In job situation you describe you are forced you to change tasks and forced to be flexible when you get new tasks with a deadline. Maybe you have written it before, but I don't remember what type of job that you have?
@Otanetix (509)
• United States
31 Dec 12
While I would prefer finishing one task first before moving to the next one, it's not always that simple. For example, I have other priorities to take care of which cannot be neglected for too long. However, if I didn't have other priorities that might interfere, I would finish one first before going to the next one. But lately, I think I have taken the route of switching tasks in order myself to take a break. Each task might be more difficult than other tasks, which can be stressful if you only focus on that one task. I believe in making good use of your time. If you cannot focus on that one task anymore because it's too stressful for you to focus on it for a long time, then either take a break or try doing another task.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
28 Feb 13
Yes, it can be stressful to focus on the same task all the time. I think it is a good idea to take a break or do another task for a while like you say. I switch tasks quite often, because I feel that it gives me new energy to do something different from a while. When I return to the first task it is much easier for me finish it. I tend to switch tasks in many different situations. I also read more than one book at a time. I like to read multiple books and switch between unless one of them is really interesting. When that happens I finish that one before I move on to other books.
@Hence27 (450)
• India
31 Dec 12
Yes,i too do the same thing.But the condition is that what is the priority of that thing which i am doing.I mean to say that if i read a book and then i find a book that contains equals subject matters,then i read both books half an hour.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
26 Feb 13
I do the same thing if I find two books about the same subject. Sometimes I look for information about a certain topic and if I am not sure that I have understood everything I try to compare the information in two different books, and that often helps me understand things better. I usually read multiple books, and I tend to read new books even when I haven't finished the other books. My parents always tried to convince me that it was a bad habit and they asked me to finish one book before I read the next one, but as an adult I still read multiple books
• China
31 Dec 12
Yeah,knowing that I have a lot unfinished things to do would drive me crazy.However focusing on one task would be boring thus I always choose doing two thing(sometimes three) simultaneously,especially while reading.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
25 Feb 13
I also find it boring to focus on the same thing for a long time and that is the main reason why I like to do multiple things at the same time. When I spend time on the internet I usually do other things at the same time like listening to music or watching tv or a movie. I always read more than one book at the same time, and when I need a break from one of the books for instance a non-fiction book that is quite hard to read I read something else like a novel or a collection of short stories.
@chiyosan (30204)
• Philippines
31 Dec 12
I like to switch tasks too. I get bored easily and usually while i wait for the page to load, especially here in mylot, i would usually just reopen another tab and see other discussion of different interests. It sure makes me feel happy and fulfilled seeing a lot of discussions getting submitted. Thank God i have a very little proine to submit or answer discussions in error. haha :D That is for mylot. For my reading habits, you do bet i like to read two books simultaneously... depending on what i feel like reading, depends on the mood i will read that particular one, then switch to the other.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
9 Jan 13
I use Mylot the same way. When it takes a while for the page to load I simply open another tab and and look for other discussions while I am waiting for the first discussion to load. I am usually able to do that without problems, but it has happened a few times that I posted a response in the wrong discussion. One time I responded to a discussion about relationship problems and started describing the islands in my country because I mixed up the discussions but most of the time I am able to open several tabs without problems. When I read I do the same thing and I like to switch books instead of finishing one book before I start the next one. I borrow many books at the library and when I return to my home I start reading more than one book. Like you I would say that my book choice depends on my mood and that it is one of the reasons why I think that it is nice to read more than one book.
31 Dec 12
I like staying on one particular task at a time. When I do more than one it get lost. For example if I am reading a book and I go to read another one. I will forget the one I started and get lost into the new one. I just like to stay on the one and finish. Also I get very antsy for what is going happen next so I couldnt just put down the first and start another. If I were to start a bunch of things it would defiantly bother me if they were all done. I would feel very overwhelmed.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
2 Jan 13
In some cases I also stick to one task for instance I am writing an email to a friend I don't start writing an email to another friend before I finish the first one, because I am afraid that I would get confused and mix up the things that I was writing about in each email. In many other cases I do several things at the same time. I always read multiple books and I start reading new books before I finish the first one that I started. I am able to remember the each story even when I read several books at the same time, and I think that has something to do with the fact that I have done it for years (I have done it since I started reading books about 25 years ago)