multitasking-brainI’m still trying to master chewing gum and walking at the same time. But there are those among us who can do many things at once. These talented folk are more than jugglers or plate spinners on the Ed Sullivan Show (yes, I am showing my age).

We all know the term multi-tasking. We all do it to some degree daily—drive and talking on our cell phones, watching TV and texting, etc. But as a marketing guy it’s important to reflect on those who do more than just multi-task. In face many of us “quintask”. Yes, I made that up but you get my drift. 5 activities at once!

This topic and many others were recently explored in the10th version of the Deloitte Digital democracy study conducted in November 2015. Among its many findings the report tells us virtually every American (92%) multitasks while watching TV.

As you might expect there’s a dramatic difference between Millinnelials and older Americans. Specifically, respondent s aged 19-32 (basically Millennials) average five activities at once. They watch TV ….and 4 of the 6 activities below:

–Browse/surf web
–Use Social networks
–Read email
–Text message
–Browse for products/services online
–Play video games

The older respondents, 50+, averaged just two activities at once, watching TV–plus one other. Clearly Millennials abilities to do multiple tasks at once are phenomenal. But my advice to all is simple. Focus on the activity that’s most important. Watching TV is never the most important—most times it’s merely background activity. Don’t be in such a hurry to email or text and then need to backtrack on what you really meant.

Interestingly the other activities are most often not related to the program being watched with less than ¼ of activities related to the TV itself. The ‘holy grail” of viewers reacting immediately to the idea presented in advertising or programming still remains an elusive objective. The Deloitte report is very meaty and well packaging. It’s definitely worth the time to digest. But do it soon, because by the time the 11th report is issued, the world will have changed.

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