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The Myth of Multitasking: How "Doing It All" Gets Nothing Done Hardcover – August 18, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470372257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470372258
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

The growth of email and text messages, among other innovations, has made time management at work more of a challenge. Keeping up with all of this simultaneous communication can become counterproductive. Business coach Crenshaw (founder, Fresh Juice Strategy) addresses the myths about multitasking and argues that it can in fact cost valuable time to employees. Crenshaw frames his book in the form of a fictional case study: "Phil," a consultant, is about to meet with the manager of retail clothing chain "GreenGarb: Clothes Mother Nature Intended" about improving employees' time management skills. Crenshaw's point is that the notion of multitasking is a false construct that costs both time and money. In fact, employees are "switch tasking" (switching back and forth between two or more tasks). Crenshaw claims that "background tasking" (doing two or more tasks, with only one of them requiring mental effort) could be more efficient and effective. Currently, employees lose time owing to interruptions by coworkers, distractions from new technologies, lack of attention to colleagues when they are speaking, and juggling home and work. The author also provides exercises for employees to measure their efficiency and effective use of time. Bibliographic citations are included, but a glossary would have been helpful. Overall, readable and thought-provoking; recommended for public and academic libraries.—Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This little book was both a pleasure to read and offered some very practical advice in the form of a modern day fable." (Oliver Starr, Editor, Getting Things Done Times)

"Are you a master of juggling e-mail, voice mail, cell-phone calls and the like? No, you're not, says this slim fable-cum-manifesto against multitasking. The author, a business coach, gently ridicules the idea that anyone can concentrate on two things at the same time." (Andrea Sachs, Senior Reporter, Time Magazine, November 2, 2008)

"This simple yet powerful book shows clearly why multitasking is, in fact, a lie that wastes time and costs money. Far from being efficient, multitasking actually damages productivity and relationships at work and at home." (businessskillbooks.blogspot.com, November 24, 2008)

"I applaud Crenshaw for taking on a popular buzzword and small-scale plague not only in business life, but also our day-to-day world. Multitasking is indeed a myth. I would be tempted to be more vigorous in my rhetoric and say that multitasking is a fraud and a thief." (businesscoach.us.com, November 24, 2008)

"Crenshaw's on a mission to reduce distractions, interruptions, and fire-fighting at work, and create environments that let employees see through tasks with their full attention before moving onto the next thing." (blumerlamotte.blogspot.com, October 13, 2008)


More About the Author

Dave Crenshaw is the master of helping business owners triumph over chaos. He has appeared in TIME magazine, Forbes, SIRIUS XM Radio, and the BBC News.

His first book, "The Myth of Multitasking: How 'Doing It All' Gets Nothing Done," has been published in six languages and is a time management best seller. His latest book, "The Focused Business: How Entrepreneurs Can Triumph Over Chaos" instantly hit #1 on Amazon's Hot New Releases in Small Business.

As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dave has transformed thousands of businesses worldwide.

DaveCrenshaw.com

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Customer Reviews

This book is a quick, enjoyable read and has already yielded a high ROI (Return On time Investment)!
Kindle Customer
It is a great feeling to know what the next step is and actually be able to schedule time for it and get it done.
Suzanne Robinson
Its simple story format makes for an enjoyable read, and for an easy to relate to and apply experience.
Marcia Fisch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bas Vodde on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Myth of Multi-tasking" is another business novel. This time about multi-tasking. My first response to this book was excitement. Finally, a new book on the subject of multi-tasking. I bet it will state all latest research, describe experiments done, check on the brain activity to physically prove multi-tasking is a myth etc etc. I was disappointed. None of the above is included in this book (ok, some quotes taken out of research) and instead it's an average story about a consultant helping a CEO.

The book describes the story of Phil who is called in my Helen for some reason. He convinces her that multi-tasking is not efficient (as she seemed to believe) and teaches her different ways of organizing her work so that she does not need to "switchtask" and becomes more effective. Of course, she believes the consultant, changes all her habits and her company and a happy end.

The book is easy to read. It's also small, you can read it in about an hour!! There is not much more than the above story in the book and some quotes from different research (of which some are actually interesting). One thing that annoyed me is that the author decided to rename "multi-tasking" to "switchtasking". I kept wondering why he couldn't call it simple "task switching" which is the common term for this.

The book didn't bother me. I got a couple of useful research quotes out of it and one interesting game to "prove" multitasking is inefficient. The book is small and therefore it might be easy to read. Don't expect much though. 3 stars.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an owner of a growing business, my time is very precious. This book is a quick, enjoyable read and has already yielded a high ROI (Return On time Investment)! By following the simple principles outlined in this book, I have seen improvement in stress levels and productivity at work and home. We plan on purchasing extra copies and using them as a key part of our upcoming employee training.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a busy mother of three and manager of a family business, I've spent years feeling like there is not enough time in the day, and no possible way to do everything that needs to get done. I believed that if I wanted to get anywhere in life I had to be a master "multitasker," but I was stressed-out, spun-out, and I saw no end in sight.

Today, I have to say that The Myth of Multitasking has totally changed my life.

Reading this book was a complete eye opener for me. I've learned how to examine my day, and see just where I'm losing precious time. I have to say that I was initially shocked at how ineffective I was. I was not only spinning my wheels at work, I was doing my family a huge disservice by not giving them the complete attention they deserve. Admittedly, a lifetime's worth of bad habits are hard to break, but this short fable literally gave me more time for my family, my work, and my life.

Highly recommended for anyone, but especially moms who work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Josh Rowley on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A great book for those of us who use technology "well" (or so you thought). The book makes an excellent case against allowing these tools to control the way we work. Principles from the book are actually helping me make good decisions. Having fewer irons in the fire at a given moment helps me better manage all the irons in the fire more generally in life.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By happyearthmama on October 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous book that everyone should read at least once. It takes an hour or two at the most.

It's written in story form (like "E-Myth" or "The One Minute Manager"). "Phil" is a business coach who is helping "Helen" regain control and organization in her business. He takes her through a series of exercises (included in the back of the book) to show how multitasking takes MORE time than focusing on one thing at a time, and that it damages productivity and-- worse--relationships. Then he gives her some exercises to help her out of her "multitasking".

The gist of the book is: there is no such thing as multitasking. Since our brain can only focus on one thing at a time, we either switch-task (switch our focus between two or more things rapidly) or background task (focus on one task while doing another that does not require focus--like talking on the phone while sweeping the floor). Background tasking is okay at appropriate times, but most of us fall prey to switch-tasking too often.

I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I still found this book very applicable. I sat down the same day I finished it and did some of the suggested exercises. I'm into my second week of living according to these ideas, and I can tell already that I get more done. Even better--I feel much more satisfied at the end of the day because I know all of my relationships have gotten the attention I intended for them to get.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Hawkins on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a phenomenal book! I was having flashbacks to my first time with the certified time coach. If everyone can't have Dave in person, this is the next best thing. It's also a great refresher course for those of us who have employed his services. Five "thumbs up" and a must read for any business executive!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Travis Parry on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing guide to time and productivity management. It is in story format and a quick read. The book proves how many people today are so caught up in doing everything at the same time that they really are not effective at doing much at all.

As Dave guides us through a real life example of how multitasking has caused stress and low productivity, the reader can easily relate to his/her own life. It provides insight and solutions that can only be found in this one of a kind book. It literally has changed my life.

[...]
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