THE ART OF MULTITASKING
Multitask efficiently in splitview
Multitasking is defined as the simultaneous execution of two or more tasks.
In aviation, one valuable trait of an experienced pilot would be his ability to multitask efficiently and calmly. As pilots, this competence is constantly challenged, dealing with distractions, interruptions, unplanned scenarios, fixation or inattention.
In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, multi-tasking has almost become a norm. We regularly use it without even realizing it. For example, cooking while watching TV, working on a laptop while having a look at your baby crawling around, driving while having a conversation. Examples are unlimited, sometimes involving 3, 4 or 5 fives tasks.
While a computer can perform an almost unlimited amount of tasks simultaneously, our brain, on the other hand, has a finite pool of attention.
As pilots, imagine having to constantly switch rapidly between several sources of information, while manually flying, listening to air traffic control, checking our navigation charts, monitoring the weather, and more. Depending on the amount of time we have and the cognitive resources being used to perform those multiple tasks, we can divide multitasking into 2 types of skills:
This is what we actually do most of the time. We rapidly switch between two or more tasks, instead of actually doing them simultaneously. This is due to the simple fact that, as humans, our brains have limitations in dividing that attention.
Psychologists have defined them as “bottlenecks”. Whether it be listening, visualizing, or thinking, we are unable to split our focus on 2 or more attentions, i.e. listening and comprehending two simultaneous conversations
For these reasons, we are constantly and rapidly switching our attention in the flight deck. We scan instruments one by one, not all of them at the same time.
This skill is used when the previous “bottlenecks” are not involved and when automatism skills have been acquired.
For these reasons we learn procedures and flows, so that we can perform while being able to pay attention to other sources, such as monitoring instruments while performing a procedure, or flying manually the aircraft and communicate with the air traffic control simultaneously.
Our ability to divide our attention depends mostly on the complexity of the task at hand and how much time it consumes. The more complex the task, the more attention and time spent required. However, with more pilot experience, training and practice, we acquire automatism (muscle memory while performing procedures), which means the more attention we can divide and give our time to other tasks.
What are the risks associated with Multitasking?
Attention tunneling: Occurs when during a flight, a pilot fixates on a specific task/input while being unaware of any other incoming information, also known as, “tunnel vision”
Sensory overload: When pilots encounter more flight information (cognitive/sensory inputs) that can be processed. Such as an emergency, with various lights flashing and alarms chiming. This may cause disorientation, or degrade performance and skills.
Distractions/interruptions: During a flight, unexpected events may happen while we are performing a task/procedure. We must learn to decide whether or not that event needs further attention, act on it or continue our previous task.
Inattention: When pilots fail to pay attention to an important information or input. This can be a consequence due to attention tunneling or when not busy or bored (lack of concentration).
Simplify and improve your multitasking skills with CHECKL!ST
To improve our multitasking skills, there are no secrets, we must practice, train and study. That said, there are tools that we may use to simplify this multitasking process, reduce our workload and minimize the risks associated mentioned earlier.
Nowadays technology offers us the luxury to multitask more effectively just by having the appropriate tools, such as navigation maps on iPad, weight & balance programs, electronic logbooks, flight plans app and more. A new addition to this list is CHECKL!ST, a fully electronic checklist at your fingertips, and all within a straight forward and efficient app .
As we get more hands-on with our devices, CHECKL!ST takes into account the importance of multitasking as a pilot and facilitates this without changing your routine and habits by providing the ultimate feature: Split View & Slide Over.
· SPLIT VIEW: Our CHECKL!ST app has a SPLIT VIEW compliant or “split-screen”, which means, that on your iPad, not only will you have easy access to your checklists, but you can display them simultaneously in their own resizable panes, side by side with your preferred navigation moving map or any other app of your choice. Depending on the app you want to prioritize, you can adjust the size of the panes being displayed, dragging the line separating them, just with one slide of your finger.
· SLIDE OVER: the app is also SLIDE OVER compliant, meaning, you can view two apps on the screen with one app in a narrow pane floating on top of the other. When you momentarily don’t need your checklist displayed, the feature allows you to hide it off the screen and re-summon it at any time with one slide from your finger.
Want to learn more about split view and slide over ? You can find a more detailed explanation included in the apps User’s Manual or on this link https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207582
Apple has developed these integrated features for several years now, in order to take our productivity and multitasking skill to a new level. Aviation has vastly benefited from this development.
Reduce your time consuming action looking for a checklist, hold it, read it, and display it next to your moving chart, all while flying. All necessary and primary information you need can be inserted in one screen, making your attention switch easier and more efficient. So why not take advantage of it?
Paperless and editable, it is simple to use and you won’t loose it between your rudder pedals ! CHECKL!ST offers several more features in its app to enhance your safety while easing your workload, but this will be discussed on our next flight. Stay seated for next week’s article and fly safe.