Throughout the years, multitasking was viewed as acceptable in society. The idea of doing more than one task meant being more productive. However, that idea has been questioned as we live in an age of constant distractions. Now that we use electronics on a daily basis, does multitasking lower productivity? No doubt that it does, which I will briefly go over in this article.
Multitasking lowers productivity more than you think
When you work on more than one task, that gives your brain more work to do than it can handle. It can lower your efficiency and mental capacity, as our brains were not designed to do multiple tasks at once.
Even if you were to switch tasks in-between, that’s not good either. For instance, doing one task for a few minutes, followed by doing another task for five minutes, is not good for the brain.
According to research by the American Psychological Association, switching between tasks reduces efficiency and increases some risks. For example, multitasking could potentially lead to poor quality work. If the result is more errors, that’s something to think twice about.
How multitasking played into my time at work
In my work experience, it’s interesting to hear people tell me that it’s necessary to multitask while working. I believe it would be something like, “To be successful in this role, you must be able to multitask.”. Having the ability to multitask is an important quality for someone in this position.
Now that I think about it, I’m like, “Is multitasking really necessary for any job?”. I ask that question because in my time working several jobs, multitasking is not that effective.
Even when I tried multitasking, I found myself slowing down at times. Multitasking rushed me into getting things done sooner when I needed to review things.
When multitasking does not work
During my time working at a few banks (operations), I found it to be true that multitasking does not work in a lot of instances. For example, one thing we followed when doing our work is “One transaction at a time”.
Following that motto was important because every transaction we handled was sensitive. I was looking over personally identifiable information (PII), so it had to be handled with care. PII exposure is a serious matter, so you must remain vigilant when handling it.
Based on the work I performed, it was imperative that we handled each transaction properly. So in that case, multitasking does not work well if we needed to handle proper care for every transaction.
So what can you do about multitasking?
These days, it can be tempting to avoid multitasking. Especially if we’re trying to get more work done in a short period of time, we tend to believe it’s necessary.
But the truth is it doesn’t work no matter what. It’s why the best thing you can do is to work on one task (minimum two tasks) at a time.
That’s why I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro technique. When I’m allotted to work in 25-minute work periods on one task, I feel a lot more productive. I find myself not working on multiple tasks at once, which can lower my productivity.
If you’re interested in learning more about this approach, check out an article I wrote about it not too long ago (see the link below).
There’s no doubt multitasking can reduce productivity if done regularly. You’re not as efficient while working on tasks, and it puts more pressure on your mental capabilities.
I’m certainly not a fan of multitasking myself. It doesn’t do me any good if I have to work extra harder than I should.
Whatever work you do, it’s important to know that multitasking is not the best approach for you. Instead, focus on doing one task at a time if possible.
Your Turn: Do you tend to multitask a lot?
I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Do you often multitask while working?
Do you believe that multitasking is essential for getting more done? What can you do differently about it?
If you’ve multitasked, do you find yourself more stressed out? How has the quality of your work turned out in that case?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.