You cannot multitask

William Liao
1 min readFeb 23, 2024

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You cannot multitask.

You can rapidly switch between tasks, but it doesn’t bode well for making the progress you’re convinced you’re going to make.

When you switch from Task A to Task B, part of you is going to be thinking about Task A; the inverse is also true when you switch back over to Task A again.

The term of art to describe this is Attention Residue.

Trying to juggle things — looking at your phone while on a call, responding to a message in the middle of what was supposed to be focused work — strains your cognitive resources, gums up your ability to think clearly, and ultimately gives you the opposite of you want: worse results.

Less really is more here.

By choosing to focus on one thing at a time in a world where it’s the competition for your attention is increasingly fierce, you’ll end up having better conversations and making better things.

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William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)