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Multitasking—a medical and mental hazard

January 7, 2012
  • By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

About the Author

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Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Pat Skerrett is the editor of STAT's First Opinion and host of the First Opinion podcast. He is the former editor of the Harvard Health blog and former Executive Editor of Harvard Health Publishing. Before that, he was editor of … See Full Bio
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February 26, 2012

Everything will be done seriously but at the time of love no mental. Sorry my english is not good. Enjoy your life without everyone. No one is with you when you are in problem. It’s a real truth that every indian believes.As well feel that guy who has no mother and father.But he/she has strong capacity to fight(mental). Because from the age of children to adult .They feel each and every thing.God helps but where when love fails or when two person fight for ach other.

Kaavya + Alisha

board games
January 22, 2012

I agree with what Victori Ramo said, “Organize your mind, organize your life” everything should be done in the right time and at the right place.

Barbara Ninan
January 18, 2012

The post on the dangers of multitasking was great. The hospital I am affiliated with is trying to implement a distraction free area for nurses to prepare medications. Even though I know this is a good idea, it is always hard to implement change. This post brought home the potential seriousness of multitasking when one of the tasks could have life or death complications. In our culture, multitasking has become the norm and is often expected. I am so glad to have learned the new term, set shifting. I have learned to multitask quite well. Now I need to backtrack and learn to focus completely on the task at hand. Thank you so much for this insight.

Victori Ramo
January 10, 2012

Don’t miss “Organize your mind, organize your life”.

January 9, 2012

Very interesting. Cell phones do everything nowadays though. Can you believe they even have free cell own charging stations at some restaurants/bars?

Ayush Gupta
January 8, 2012

haha Many people take pride in how well they
multitask but truth is something different.

Carlo @ MMA Acupuncture
January 7, 2012

Hi Dr. Duffin, that is a lot to handle on your plate, much-o respect to you!

Personally I’ve been trying to cut down my use of electronic/social media and have been doing a lot of tai chi and meditation to help with my focus.

January 7, 2012

This points out what business has been worried about for a while, the distractions of personal and business communications on the same device. What needs to be highlighted in my honest humble professional opinion, is the need for professionals to be able to focus on their task without interruptions of a business nature as well. That means no other managers or coworkers bringing you 5 more things that are ALL priority or “stat” and the ability to manage ones workflow according to what can be done well in that time. This economy means those who are employed are being pushed to do the job of 3-5 people and that will not produce quality output or a quality country. Balance. In the human ability to multitask I will say, particularly in Healthcare, it is important to keep alert and pick up on small cues as second nature. Notice when something is “off” and needs tending to , a symptom of something else, when seemingly unrelated things are interconnected (the body is whole) and when paperwork issues (staff) you could roll to someone else have an easy fix if you take ownership to find out what the holdup is, and the patient is relieved, as well as your employer’s (practice, pharmacy etc. ) paycheck and your own ensured.

Dr Duffin
January 7, 2012

Most medics don’t chose voluntarily to mutitask so much, I frequently find myself in coronary care with two telephones, a pager, mobile phone, nurses and a junior doctor all demanding simultaneous attention. When I dare say NO and deal with one issue at a time and prioritise my work I am deemed unhelpful!!!!!

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