Contemplating inefficiency is oft a waste of time

We all innately multi-task. We check emails on the toilet. We read junk mail while waiting on hold. We work on two projects simultaneously at work.

Many “agile proponents” claim that multi-tasking is inherently inefficient. I’ve heard them quote some study about the efficiency of stuffing envelopes. Something about one at a time versus an assembly line type process where you stuff 100 envelopes, then address all 100, then lick all 100, …

And from that one “study” they extrapolate that all multi-tasking is bad.

That’s nonsense.

There are times when multi-tasking is inefficient. There are times when it’s not. And most of the time it’s not worth consideration, just do whatever you feel compelled to do. You’ll waste more time calculating the best course of action.

The best part is, we all have a tendency to just do whatever we feel compelled to do. We don’t think about it. It’s automatic.

We just like to talk about how inefficient things are from the comfort of our armchairs in the pulpit of our ivory towers.

If you’re worried about efficiency. Step one is to know if it’s worth worrying about.