Today, at the Startup Weekend, we also had a talk on how the illusion of multitasking brought by new technologies is actually hurting productivity (and life in general): our brain cannot multitask. It can only have the tasks displace each other; at a significant cost.
Of course, if you tell this to hackers, you have to account for the reaction: “yes I generally know this is true. But is it truly true? Can I hack around this?” -which was mine 😁
And the answer is… well, depressing. It’s a quite solid result in literature: attention is one.
But you can do stuff if you’re so used to it it requires no attention at all. After all, white I write this I’m walking around my house; performing in background computational feats of motor control and obstacle avoidance which took decades for robot labs to replicate.
It’s a bit like our brain was python. The interpreter can leverage several processors (…or billions of neurons!) internally; yet it only ever executes one thread of program instructions at a time …and still performance libraries can work around it; by avoiding the interpreter entirely, and directly executing native code.
What are my performance libraries? Can I handle boring tasks making such a natural habit of them, that I can dispatch of them without allowing any lock on my precious consciousness?