Book review – Singletasking

Written by on March 12, 2017 in Book Review with 0 Comments

Title: Singletasking – Get More Done – One Thing at a Time

Author: Devora Zack,

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler

Year: 2015

Some of us are fairly adept at multitasking – doing more than one thing at the same time. Some examples are watching TV while eating dinner, answering a phone call while driving the car, sending email while participating in a meeting, etc.

Persons who multitask are generally considered very efficient and are looked up to. The truth is that not all of us are good at this. Of course, whether we like it or not, and whether we are good at it or not, most of us have to multitask some time or the other; the difference is the degree. The examples I listed above represent some common scenarios.

These do not appear too difficult, and we manage them reasonably well. But if we read about some famous people and the CEOs of big corporations, we will be awestruck by the amount of multitasking they do every single day – immersed in never-ending emails, meetings and presentations. Sometimes this makes us feel really low and we curse ourselves for not being as good as they are. Haven’t you been in such a situation? As for me, I have been through this feeling many times!

Despair not! In the very readable book Singletasking – Get More Done – One Thing at a Time, author Devora Zack convincingly argues that doing one thing at a time, immersing yourself in it, is the right thing to do because it demonstrates discipline and focus. Throughout this short book (less than 150 pages), she takes us through several examples arguing how single tasking helps achieve better results in life. Each chapter (there are only seven chapters in all) starts with a beautiful quote to reinforce the idea described in that chapter. In particular, I found this quote very eloquent:

“Always do one thing less 

than you think you can do”

– Bernard Mannes Baruch

In the first chapter, Devora argues that multitasking is a myth and is neurologically impossible. She cites scientific evidence to show that we cannot really multitask, but only task-switch. Chapter 2 explains what single tasking is, and Chapter 3 tells you how it can help take control of your environment and mind. Following this pattern, each chapter touches upon the different benefits of single tasking.

Overall, a highly engaging book!

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