In an accelerated, overachieving world, we all take pride in our ability to do two or more things at the same time:  working on vacation; using an elegant dinner to hammer out a business deal; reading while we’re groaning on the StairMaster.  The irony of multitasking is that it’s exhausting; when you’re doing two or three things simultaneously, you use more energy than the sum of energy required to do each task independently.  You’re also cheating yourself because you’re not doing anything excellently.  You’re compromising your virtuosity.  In the words of T. S. Eliot, you’re “distracted from distractions by distractions.”

It’s a challenge to cut out multitasking because we all get a frisson of satisfaction from being able to keep several balls in the air at once.  But one week without multitasking is worth it; the increased focus and awareness are their own rewards.”

– Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, 26


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