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Multitasking

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  • jhrothjr
    Here s an article to add to the file on why interruptions are bad, including references to the labs doing the work that backs it up: Most People Can t
    Message 1 of 6 , May 12, 2014
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      Here's an article to add to the file on why interruptions are bad, including references to the labs doing the work that backs it up:

      Most People Can't Multitask, But a Few Are Exceptional.

       



      tl;dr: About 2% of the population can really multitask: the more you load on them, the better they get. The rest of us? The better we think we are, the worse we are likely to be.

      I'd like to see this work repeated on office tasks, but here it is.


    • Ron Jeffries
      Fascinating! Thanks, R ... Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Sometimes I give myself admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it. -- Mary Wortley Montagu
      Message 2 of 6 , May 12, 2014
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        Fascinating!
        Thanks,
        R
        On May 12, 2014, at 7:13 PM, JohnRoth1@... [extremeprogramming] <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        Here's an article to add to the file on why interruptions are bad, including references to the labs doing the work that backs it up:


        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Sometimes I give myself admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it.
        -- Mary Wortley Montagu



      • jeffgrigg63132
        The article on multitasking masters will probably make some people think that they are one. (It even says so in the article.) But I don t think I ve ever seen
        Message 3 of 6 , May 14, 2014
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          The article on multitasking masters will probably make some people think that they are one. (It even says so in the article.)  But I don't think I've ever seen one.

          I don't think I agree with their assumption that multitasking mastery is genetic and not learned.  Yes, they demonstrate that practicing, for a short time, does not improve your performance.  But I don't think that's sufficient evidence that it's a genetically determined skill.  What if there are unintuitive approaches that lead to having the "multitasking master" skill?  What if really intense "training" over the course of months is what it takes to make the "breakthrough?"

          And still, I wonder if being a "multitasking master" would be a useful skill for computer programming.  While we do "juggle lots of things" to get to the right answer, I think that multi-tasking would make cooperation and communication with others difficult.  And I doubt that the "light" tasks they're using in the tests are representative of the "heavy" thinking tasks we do while programming.

          http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/mariakonnikova/2014/05/multitask-masters.html


          ---Ron Jeffries wrote :
          Fascinating!
          Thanks,
          R

          -- John Roth wrote:
          Here's an article to add to the file on why interruptions are bad, including references to the labs doing the work that backs it up:
        • rave_uno
          Completely agree with this statement While we do juggle lots of things to get to the right answer, I think that multi-tasking would make cooperation and
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 8, 2014
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            Completely agree with this statement "While we do "juggle lots of things" to get to the right answer, I think that multi-tasking would make cooperation and communication with others difficult." 

            From what I've noticed while working a super multi-tasker, they go ahead so fast that it takes time for the rest of the team to catch up with them. And hence a lot of miscommunication and rework, since the multi-tasker is all "I thought of ABC but im doing XYZ right now, so let Team Member 1 work on both simultaneously, else he's lagging". 


          • Adam Sroka
            The article was really interesting. My mom self-describes as a great multitasker, but growing up in the house with her I would say that she is incredibly
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 8, 2014
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              The article was really interesting. My mom self-describes as a great multitasker, but growing up in the house with her I would say that she is incredibly intelligent and versatile in her interests and abilities but easily distracted. She will take on several projects at once and make progress on all of them, but she's not really paying full attention to any of them for more than a few minutes at a time. 

              I am the exact opposite. I can hyperfocus on one thing and do it really, really well. If you ask me an unrelated question while I am doing it I will probably stop, listen, react, and then refocus. I have discovered that normal people find this annoying, but my choices are to ignore you, ignore what I'm doing, or stop, listen, react, and refocus. 

              Part of the reason I really love pairing is that I can bring another human being into that focused state with me and share a bit about what my brain is doing when I am there. I can also depend on a good pair to help me keep that laser focus pointed in the direction that maximizes customer value. 

              It's also part of the reason I love sitting together with the whole team. I will hear everything that is going on in the room but stay focused on what my pair and I are doing. If someone says something that is worth breaking focus to deal with I will, otherwise I won't remember them saying it an hour later. 

              On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, jeffreytoddgrigg@... [extremeprogramming] <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
               

              The article on multitasking masters will probably make some people think that they are one. (It even says so in the article.)  But I don't think I've ever seen one.

              I don't think I agree with their assumption that multitasking mastery is genetic and not learned.  Yes, they demonstrate that practicing, for a short time, does not improve your performance.  But I don't think that's sufficient evidence that it's a genetically determined skill.  What if there are unintuitive approaches that lead to having the "multitasking master" skill?  What if really intense "training" over the course of months is what it takes to make the "breakthrough?"

              And still, I wonder if being a "multitasking master" would be a useful skill for computer programming.  While we do "juggle lots of things" to get to the right answer, I think that multi-tasking would make cooperation and communication with others difficult.  And I doubt that the "light" tasks they're using in the tests are representative of the "heavy" thinking tasks we do while programming.

              http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/mariakonnikova/2014/05/multitask-masters.html


              ---Ron Jeffries wrote :
              Fascinating!
              Thanks,
              R

              -- John Roth wrote:
              Here's an article to add to the file on why interruptions are bad, including references to the labs doing the work that backs it up:

            • jeffgrigg63132
              I ve never seen anyone multi-task while programming. Seems like a crazy idea.And it s fundamentally incompatible with TDD anyway. Unless you attempt to write
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 16, 2014
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                I've never seen anyone multi-task while programming.  Seems like a crazy idea.And it's fundamentally incompatible with TDD anyway.  Unless you attempt to write several different independent features simultaneously, it wouldn't be possible to follow the test-code-refactor cycle.  And the tools don't support it, even if you found someone who could do it.
                Now sometimes instead of explaining what you intend to do, it makes sense for a partner to "give you a little room" to just do it and then examine the result.  When there's been doubt as to "which way would be better," I've just done it both ways, put the code side-by-side and asked, "Which do you think is better?"  Rather then speculate and argue, let's see it both ways and then judge it.  (This has worked pretty well for me.)
                Programming (at least with today's technologies) is pretty linear.  If someone can do it well, and also yell at their kids and play music and also pet the cat at the same time...  Well, good for the cat!   ^-^
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