Where trouble arises, is with problem-solving types of tasks, the kind that require creativity, integration of thoughts, and the generation of new ideas. Switching among such tasks demands a certain degree of downtime. The fuel cell of imagination can only be drained for so long before it needs to be recharged. Attempting to solve a problem with a dead imagination is a recipe for failure, not to mention a large waste of time.
I have spent the last 6 years or so trying to do this when I manage my autistic friend in the community and among people who don’t know him well. Even at home it’s often a trial. I have learnt a great deal watching people who are paid to care for him – they avoid multitasking if they want him to follow through on something. So I’m no longer surprised that I am stressed if I take on his processing problems and try to deal with something novel at the same time. Nor am I surprised that I sometimes get very impatient in ‘downtime’ at first – until the creative juices have time to recharge and reassert themselves.