EVERYONE'S byline nowadays seems to be the title “multitasker.”

The image of a man or a woman with about eight arms doing eight different things, all at once, pops in the mind. Or you might imagine somebody balancing on a big ball while juggling five monkeys.

Multitasking is a grandiose image we all want to possess. We all have a superhero complex within that’s constantly rearing its head. We all want to prove ourselves that we’re more than capable of handling many things at the same time.

But is our concept of multitasking correct?

Many of us believe that being a multitasker is equal to busyness. Being caught up in activities does not equal productivity. Sure, you may be the perfect image of a harassed, running-around-like-a-chicken-without-a-head busy body but that does not mean you’re a multitasker. You’re just that – a headless chicken.

Catering to distractions does not equal multitasking. According to Mark Sanborn in his book, You don’t need a title to be a leader, “A recent study of knowledge workers found that they face a distraction every eleven minutes on average, and that once distracted, it takes them twenty-five minutes to get back to the task at hand.”

Although it is true that urgent and important things can barge into our schedules any time of the day, the danger lies in devoting most of our time to the trivial and unimportant clutters that pile up unplanned.

The real power of a true multitasker is the ability to focus. Intense, laser-like focus is the authentic multitasker’s ultimate weapon. He is able to concentrate fully in one task at that specific moment that he is able to finish what he has set out to do in the allotted time he has promised himself he would do it. It’s the keen awareness of precise scheduling that makes him able to complete a number of seemingly complicated tasks in a day.

It’s his ability to shut off the entire world and see only the computer monitor before him. It’s his formidable will to close all doors, turn off the phone and TV, and just concentrate. It’s his firm but kind giving of heads-up to the people around that he wouldn’t be available at this time because he needs to finish writing a report. It’s his wilful resistance not to log in on social media or check emails while completing a project.

The ability to compartmentalize and delegate is essential to a productive multitasker. He can distinctly prioritize what needs to be done first among the many things on his checklist. He is also humble enough to know that he cannot do everything all on his own. He has the wisdom to delegate tasks that can be better performed by others so he can focus on the activities he can do best and where he can create the greatest impact.

Stephen Covey’s first rule in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to begin with an end in mind. That’s what matters – what do you want as an end. The steps getting there may not count if the objective is not reached at all. Real multitasking is productivity maximized.