Category: 

What is a Unitasker?

Soap in a soap dish, a type of unitasker.
A rice cooker, a type of unitasker.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
There has never been a documented human death associated with a tarantula bite.  more...

April 19 ,  1775 :  The American Revolution began.  more...

The term “unitasker” is used in two different ways. In the first sense, it refers to an object with one function, such as a rice cooker. It is also sometimes used in reference to people, as a description for someone who only completes one task at a time. Some people view unitaskers unfavorably in certain situations, whether they are objects or people, with the implication that the ability to perform multiple tasks is vital.

In the sense of an object, a unitasker is designed to perform one very specific function, and it is typically incapable of doing anything else. Ideally, engineers design the item to be extremely good at what it does. A waffle iron, for example, can only be used to make waffles, but it tends to make waffles extremely effectively, justifying its existence as a unitasker. Other objects as varied as saddles and soap dishes can also be considered unitaskers.

Ad

Most people take exception to unitaskers in the kitchen more than anywhere else. This is because space in the kitchen is typically constrained, and a unitasker takes up more space than an item which can perform multiple functions. For example, a lemon zester is really only good for removing the zest of citrus fruits, while a rough grater, like a Microplane® grater, can zest citrus and grate a number of other things from chocolate to cheese, making it a more effective kitchen tool. This is especially true with unitasking appliances, which can rapidly eat up space in a crowded kitchen.

In the sense of a person, being a unitasker isn't necessarily such a bad thing. Many people have very different ways of working, and some people prefer to work on one thing at a time. This does not necessarily make them less efficient, as the ability to focus on one task at once may allow someone to complete the task extremely well and in a reasonably short amount of time. Unfortunately for many people of a unitasking inclination, many modern schools and workplaces are geared towards multitaskers, which can make life extremely frustrating.

If you happen to prefer unitasking, you may want to avoid job advertisements for things like “fast paced workplaces,” and you may want to make your working style explicitly clear in job interviews, especially if you have excellent references which indicate that your unitasking nature is an asset to the workplace. You may also want to reference it in resumes with comments which indicate that you have “an eye for detail” which stress the positive sides of being a unitasker. In a school environment, try to create a schedule structure which works well for you, and do not be afraid to ask for help from staff and instructors.

Ad

Discuss this Article

anon195066
Post 7

Some tasks are very complicated, require a lot preparation or other preliminary work, or need the one doing them to keep a lot of factors in mind and try to take them all into account at the same time.

In my experience, these sorts of tasks can only be done one-at-time to be done well (not to mention minimize the overhead of setting up).

Foofie
Post 6

In my opinion, the brains of multitaskers might be living in the future more often (to "juggle" multiple tasks), while the brains of unitaskers might be living in the present *now* moment more often. If this is correct, do we tend to become unitaskers, as we age, since we might then savor the *now* moment more, since the future is shrinking for us? This might point to a philosophical unconscious?

anon29516
Post 5

I was thinking about the waffle iron. It can be used as a form for lead weights, and what about the story of Nike or whomever that was that used a waffle iron to make soles for his first Tennis Shoes? Just for fun....

anon29511
Post 4

A woman I know cannot put on her gloves without slowing down her walk. Any other activity will slow her walking. It would seem that walking is so automatic that it would not require separate attention.

anon29507
Post 3

A highly informative article. The linguistic style is also impressive and expressive.

bannerd
Post 2

I have found this article about unitasker's very enlightening. I have just finished as part of a team installing SAP in 3 national distribution centres for a major retailing company and can firmly state that the development and ultimate success of the project would not have worked as well without the existence of unitasker's within the team.

anon29492
Post 1

Just a comment to the posting above. Rice cookers are *not* unitaskers. They can do a lot more than cook rice. You can even make cakes in a rice cooker!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email