Phil Dunlap, Western Author

Friday, May 6, 2011


There, I've said it. Anyone who actually believes they can multi-task and succeed as well as if they were doing single-tasking is a big, fat liar. Okay, here's my problem with the whole new age assumption that because our brains are being fed so much data from many sources all at once, we can adapt and do more simultaneously. Hogwash.

As I was coming in to work today, I looked over to see another driver trying to read his iPad as he drove. He swerved in front of another car when he discovered he really wanted to turn into a shopping center and he'd almost passed the entrance. He'd been too distracted to get ready for his turn. Multi-tasking gone awry? Uh-huh. Ever watch a woman putting on eyeliner or lipstick in the rear-view mirror, shouting at her kid in the back seat, and at the same time trying to negotiate  rush-hour traffic? How's that working for you?

 And it's not just other people, I admit there was a time when I thought I could accomplish several things at once, and do them all equally well. For instance, when I go out to mow the lawn and look over at some bushes that need trimming, what do I do? Yep, you guessed it. I stop mowing and get the clippers and begin taking care of that pesky bush. But, if there are weeds under the bush, I certainly need to get those pulled before the landscape police complain and I'm asked none-too-politely to leave the neighborhood. Okay, now I've spent two hours busy as a little beaver, and yet, after all that time, I've managed to pull fifteen weeds, trimmed half a bush, and mowed part of the front yard. Multi-tasker supreme? You bet. After all that effort, I've finished nothing, my back is killing me, and I've spent too much time in the noonday sun. (Isn't there a song about that? Something about mad dogs and Englishmen?) Time for a rest and a cold one.

Well, I doubt I'll stop criticizing others when I see them trying to do ten jobs at once, none of them well, but I for one am resolving to make a supreme effort to attend to just one thing at a time, and do it the best I can. Right after I finish this silly blog, I'm going to work on the manuscript that is rushing toward a deadline, and then there are those contracts that must be signed and sent out, oh, and the lawn needs mowing again...