There are two kinds of people: People who are bad at multitasking, and people who don’t realize that they are bad at multitasking. This is not an opinion; there is research to back it up. Here are a few links.
So what to do? I have a few thoughts:
- Realizing that humans aren’t good at multitasking is an important first step.
- If you have multiple tasks to execute, model your behavior on how single-processor machines implement multitasking.
- Realize that context switches are expensive.
- Divide your work up into easily-consumed chunks.
- Pick a single “work chunk” from the list and execute it from start to finish.
- Continue picking chunks from the list and completing them.
- If interrupted, come back and finish off the work chunk you were on before moving on to another.The goal is to have a pile of completed chunks, a pile of un-started chunks, and exactly one chunk in progress.