My dad bought one of the first 1,000 Apple Macintosh computers delivered to my home country of Germany. Since late 1984/early 1985 I have been using pretty much nothing but Macs. I know a bunch of Apple’s Macintosh history first hand. From the original Mac, the Fat Mac upgrades, the first color Macs to the awful years sans Steve Jobs. And from the iMac, the iPod to the iPhone and all the way to today – it has been an interesting journey to observe.
A few weeks ago I realized that Apple ruined productivity (at least mine) in April 1985. That month Andy Hertzfeld, one of the most talented software developers ever, released “Switcher”. Switcher allowed you to run many programs on your Mac at the same time and seamlessly switch between them. It birthed, at least on the Mac, the age of multi-tasking.
And multi-tasking destroys my (and likely your) productivity. A lot has been written about this already. From a “40% productivity loss” to the American Psychological Association’s summary of “Switching Costs” – there is no lack of evidence that multi-tasking kills us.
Pretty much anyone I talk to suffers from this – and yet, we all seem to be stuck in the pattern of trying to do many things at the same time. When we put together the GyShiDo manifesto, we identified Single Tasking as the second most important thing you can do – right after Relentless Focus (which is, in many ways, just a different side of the same medallion).
As we all love a good challenge: Try to ruthlessly single-task for just one day and see how it treats you. I have been doing this for a while now and am not only (much) more productive but also way more in flow. I am sure you will find the same.
Now, excuse me. I will close down my writing app to make space for the next item on my list.