Going the distance

Multitask at your own peril

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. April 21, 2011

While driving to work one morning, a billboard for a high-end hotel caught my eye. It said, "Yes, you can have it all. You deserve it." Well, whether or not I deserve it is unclear, but I know I can't have it all. I have limits and I become distracted, just like everyone does. And that's when mistakes can happen. Sometimes these mistakes are simply inconvenient, but sometimes there can be serious consequences. Let me explain.

Several months ago, I was invited to speak on the evening of April 26. There were a number of confirmatory emails, and there was no doubt about the date. When I entered the date into my calendar, however, I was distracted or busy, or both, and the date that I put in was April 27. By absolute luck, I happened to pick up the mistake and there was no harm, but can you imagine being invited as a speaker and then not showing up? How incredibly disrespectful that would be to the audience.

So this was a powerful wake-up call for me. Do not multitask. I can't do two things at once and do them both justice.

How do you see it? Do you multitask? Have you suffered any ill consequences?


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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April 21, 2011