It has long been said that women can multitask which is seen a positive thing and men cannot, to their detriment. Unfortunately I am going to spend the rest of this article debunking multitasking and its supposed benefits, because it actually sucks productivity out of your day. I’m sorry ladies I have to let our team down on this one, but I think in the long run it will be worth it! We’re all aiming to be masters of productivity so sit up and take note. Multitasking is defined as one of three practices:
1. It can mean performing two or more tasks simultaneously.
2. It can also involve switching back and forth from one thing to another.
3. Multitasking can also involve performing a number of tasks in rapid succession. (According to researchers)
While we usually view multitasking as a positive productivity tool, research suggests otherwise. But before we get technical think about the logic – currently I am focused on writing this post. My phone rings, I answer without hesitating, somebody wanting to ask me for some information on a different topic, whilst I am breezing over my article looking for errors. We end the call and I have now completely lost my train of thought which means I need to go back a few steps in my writing, regather my thoughts and try get back on track. Not to mention the half an ear I was giving to the poor guy on the phone. Basically – time wasted all round. If I’d had my phone on silent or ‘do not disturb mode’ I wouldn’t have wasted time going backwards in my article and having to completely refocus; in the same vein I could have returned that chaps phone-call later and given him the attention and answer quality he deserved. My bad.
Research is showing up to a 40% productivity loss due to multitasking. Whilst the research speaks mainly of the actual time taken to switch between tasks, I want to know about the time it takes to refocus and regather your scattered thoughts. Add that collected time for every instance of multitasking during the day and I’m certain we would be mildly horrified at how much time we essentially waste.
“If you’re going to do it, do it properly”.
Give a task your full attention, blow it out of the water with your full focus, take a break, a walk, refocus and then hit the next task with the same energy and focus as before. Just like a camera has to refocus for every photo that it takes to ensure it gets a good quality, clear picture every time, you need to give tasks your full attention to nail them every time. Beware of multitasking, it sucks, literally.
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