The VPM Blog

Multitasking with 30/30

Posted by admin on Jun 18, 2012 3:07:19 PM

Multitasking is an "art" that some people are determined they've mastered. They can sit at their desk, talk to a client on the phone, take notes and browse through the pictures that their friend just posted on Facebook, all while listening to the early morning talk show on the radio. Superman / Superwoman are so good at multitasking that they could have a career consulting on the topic.

In reality, they are not multitasking at all. According to neuroscientist Earl Miller, "you're not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly."

The catch is: our brain struggles to switch to different tasks rapidly, especially when the tasks are done in the same area of the brain like writing an email and talking on the phone. Peter Bregman claims, when multi-tasking, “our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don't actually multitask but interrupt ourselves unproductively and lose time in the process.”

So, how do those of us without super human abilities to toggle - productively - from on task to another survive the onslaught of distractions during any given day?

Simple: do one task at a time for a set amount of time. Block out distractions until you hit the stopping point.

And now, there is a ridiculously simple app to help you do just that: 30/30 is a timer app that allows users to specify a set list of activities and then allocate time to each. Using 30/30, you can give yourself 30 minutes to write an article, then a 10 minute Facebook break, then 20 minutes to call a client and 10 minutes to send a follow-up email. You will work harder and faster to finish the article in 30 minutes because you know you get a break after and you have more task in your queue.

UPDATE: 30/30 App tweeted this to us on June 19th: Hi! Great review, but here is an error. You can assign tasks to be up to 3 hours long, not 30 minutes.

30/30 is a simple app; it makes it easy to create and visually demarcate tasks. Users have nine different colors, 24 symbols (including a dog, phone and social media sites) and up to 30 minutes to work with.

The downside: you can't specify tasks for longer than 30 minutes without doubling up in your queue. Good for those people who argue you should break your day down into small, super-specific work sets and shift your attention. Bad for folks that have meetings that tend to run long or desk-mates that like to drop in to chat (after all, it's easy to derail a five minute task).

The app's layout is sleek and simple. Double tap to edit, swipe and pinch your fingers to create new tasks, tap the dial to start / pause and hold your finger on the dial to stop the task.

30/30 is free but users are given the option to pay either $.99, $1.99 or $2.99 if they want to "donate" to the creators.

Article by: Veazey Tramel, Imagineer | veazey.vpm@gmail.com

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