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How to overcome task-switching troubles and acquire multi-tasking capability

It is known that task switching is one of the main problems of contemporary IT engineers. Let us imagine that we have to fix a lot of simple bugs with a 10-15-20-minute project recompilation after every one or a few or ten fixes. My previous article described the same workflow with fixing of 100500 bugs. So, what happens during this workflow? At the first step, we jump into the task and spend 5-10-15-20 minutes working on it. Then, at the second step, we start the compilation process and go on a coffee break, or to read something, or to discuss something, or to do another task, or like.

What happens when we come back? When we come back, we do the third step: return to the first task. We spend about the same amount of time on it: 5-15-30 minutes. Here we have a performance problem. Is it possible to shorten or to eliminate the third step? I have recently come to know that it is possible, and I will show you how.

Some time ago I realized that this problem can be overcome. The following description is based partially on my own experience and partially on three other successful independent researches. In a certain way, the related work has shown evidence that the task-switching capability largely depends on the bi- or multilingual capability. A lot of people who are reading this article are bi- or trilingual but are still vulnerable to task switching. What is going wrong? The problem is that most of us are not able to use these skills simultaneously. Below I will describe how to tackle this problem.

This methodology is based on the Holy Bible. Although, in theory, it can be adapted to other materials, here are the reasons for my choice:
— Historical evidence. Most of the previous successful researches were based on the Holy Bible, and we are not affected by the NIH syndrome;
— The effectiveness of the Holy Bible is tested and proved;
— It is the most available book in almost all known languages.

Although at first sight, this methodology looks as a natural part of the language learning process, it is an illusion due to the archaism of Bible texts. However the ability to learn new languages will improve significantly too.

First steps

Depending on your religious views, you will need:

1. To select three languages to practice. I have chosen Russian, Ukrainian, and English. If you know only two languages, it is time to start learning the third one. If you know only one language, it is time to learn the second one, but also it can be reasonable to start learning two languages simultaneously.

2. The text and the audio in those three languages of:

Romans, Chapters 5,6,7,8For those who belong to Christianity for any reason (was born in Orthodoxy, was baptised in his/her childhood, visits church at Easter, etc.)
Gospel from John, chapters 1,2,3,4For all the others.
Psalms, chapter 118For those who understand what they are doing.

I have chosen the following freely available classical texts: RSV, KJV, and the Metropolitan Ilarion (Ivan Ohienko) translation.

In my case, it was:

RSVKJVMIT
Chapter #5: text, audioChapter #5: text, audioChapter #5: text, audio
Chapter #6: text, audioChapter #6: text, audioChapter #6: text, audio
Chapter #7: text, audioChapter #7: text, audioChapter #7: text, audio
Chapter #8: text, audioChapter #8: text, audioChapter #8: text, audio

Media for other cases are located at the same place.

3. JetAudioPlus.

4. About 7 minutes of time every day in the morning and maybe in the evening.

Let’s start

The following steps are expected to be done one per day. Usually, it is not a good idea to do more than one or two steps per day even if you are able to do a step much faster than in 7 minutes. Extending one step to 7-10 days is a normal way to go. The next step should not be started before the previous one has been done.

1. Learn the first verse in the first language by heart.
2. Learn the first verse in the second language by heart.
3. Learn the first verse in the third language by heart.

4. Load the audio of the first verse in the first language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony. JetAudioPlus can require some tunings for this mode of playback.
5. Load the audio of the first verse in the second language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.
6. Load the audio of the first verse in the third language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.

7. Repeat out loud in a loop the first verse in the first language, the first verse in the second language, the first verse in the third language, the first verse in the first language, the first verse in the second language, the first verse in the third language... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.
8. Repeat out loud in a loop the first verse in the first language twice, the first verse in the second language twice, the first verse in the third language twice, the first verse in the first language twice, the first verse in the second language twice, the first verse in the third language twice... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.
9. Repeat out loud in a loop the first verse in the first language four times, the first verse in the second language four times, the first verse in the third language four times, the first verse in the first language four times, the first verse in the second language four times, the first verse in the third language four times... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.

I believe it was easy to get here. If you have finished the first steps in three weeks, it is a normal result. The most interesting will happen in the next section.

Main loop

UML activity diagram

1. Learn the i-th verse in the first language by heart.
2. Learn the i-th verse in the second language by heart.
3. Learn the i-th verse in the third language by heart.

4. Load the audio of the i-th verse in the first language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.
5. Load the audio of the i-th verse in the second language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.
6. Load the audio of the i-th verse in the third language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.

7. Repeat out loud in a loop the i-th verse in the first language, the i-th verse in the second language, the i-th verse in the third language, the i-th verse in the first language, the i-th verse in the second language, the i-th verse in the third language... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.
8. Repeat out loud in a loop the i-th verse in the first language twice, the i-th verse in the second language twice, the i-th verse in the third language twice, the i-th verse in the first language twice, the i-th verse in the second language twice, the i-th verse in the third language twice... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.
9. Repeat out loud in a loop the i-th verse in the first language four times, the i-th verse in the second language four times, the i-th verse in the third language four times, the i-th verse in the first language four times, the i-th verse in the second language four times, the i-th verse in the third language four times ... until you stop getting stuck before switching to the next language.

10. Load the audio from the first to the i-th verse in the first language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating out loud after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.
11. Load the audio from the first to the i-th verse in the second language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating loud out after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.
12. Load the audio from the first to the i-th verse in the third language to JetAudioPlus, put on replay, start listening and repeating loud out after the speaker until you reach perfect synchrony.

13. Repeat out loud in a loop until you stop getting stuck at any place:
— Recite the first verse in the first language, then the first verse in the second language, then the first verse in the third language.
— ...
— Recite the i-th verse in the first language, then the i-th verse in the second language, then the i-th verse in the third language.
14. Repeat out loud in a loop until you stop getting stuck at any place:
— Recite the first verse in the first language twice, then the first verse in the second language twice, then the first verse in the third language twice.
— ...
— Recite the i-th verse in the first language twice, then the i-th verse in the second language twice, then the i-th verse in the third language twice.
15. Repeat out loud in a loop until you stop getting stuck at any place:
— Recite the first verse in the first language four times, then the first verse in the second language four times, then the first verse in the third language four times.
— ...
— Recite the i-th verse in the first language four times, then the i-th verse in the second language four times, then the i-th verse in the third language four times.

16. GoTo p1

As soon as you complete three iterations, you will notice a significant reduction in the effort wasted on task switching. It is expected to happen in a few months after the start. Preserve the same tempo of trainings, and every few months you will run across new discoveries and impressions.

Next steps

If at some moment you start to learn new languages, it is reasonable to integrate the new language into the main loop from the previous chapter. It will also provide you with new discoveries and impressions. At this moment, I am integrating Polish into the original set of languages.

Also, it looks reasonable to try to replace daily stand-ups with exercises above.

Conclusion

Now we see that task-switching problems are solvable and multi-tasking is real. According to my experience, the effort made has produced excellent results and has changed my life. I believe that the results will far exceed your expectations.

There is one nuance: although the total amount of effort applied to task solving will be much less than before, you will make this effort in a much shorter period of time than when you work with normal speed. It can provide some discomfort at the first steps and will require to change your practice of work planning.

P.S. I think this writing is one of the most important discoveries in my life. Also, don’t forget that the Bible is the living book, and the task-switching skill will not be the only thing changed by this method.

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Довольно простой практический эксперимент показывает, что многозадачность — не эффективна

Что, довольно хорошо описано в этой книжке:www.amazon.com/...ing-Nothing/dp/0470372257

200%. Просто вы наверное не встречали задач которые без мульти-таскинга не решаются

Если вы имеете в виду исследование www.nih.gov/...ls-nih-funded-study-shows
то там дети распознавали картинки и измерялась скорость их реакции.

Проблема многозадачности в переключении между задачами: восстановить или построить заново контекст задачи чтобы продолжать ее решать.
В случае с распознанием картинок детьми, контест минимальный — ребенок видит картинку и определяет что это за животное или цвет. По сути картинка и есть контекстом, причем довольно примитивным(реальный предмет, а не связанные между собой абстрактные понятия в случае с программированием).

Как из этого исследования появился вывод, что изучение нескольких языков поможет решить проблему переключении контекста во время интелектуальной работы(уменьшит это время), мне решительно непонятно.
Возможно на десятые доли секунд или же на несколько секунд длительность переключения и уменьшится, но время потраченое на самоистязания для достижения этого результата будет на порядок больше.

Благодарю, было интересно, но исследования на которые я опирался длились десятилетиями и большей частью никогда не распространялись за пределы сильно ограниченного круга лиц.

Так можно объяснить любое утверждение, даже если оно спорное либо вообще ложное.

The chapter “Main loop” should be presented as a UML activity diagram, it’s almost not readable in the current view.

Hm... I will disscuss it with Valentina.

Вот чтото нарисовал при помощи PlantUML:
drive.google.com/...LU95djA0/view?usp=sharing

Если знаешь чем это можно отрендерить более красиво буду рад узнать.

«Вы, профессор, воля ваша, что-то нескладное придумали! Оно, может, и умно, но больно непонятно. Над вами потешаться будут». ©

Ну во-первых я не придумал а предал гласности. Во вторых — ну и пусть. Я над этим думал, взвешивал и плюсы публикации перевесили.

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