Why is Multitasking Bad?
Multitasking is praised by employers everywhere as a quality highly sought after. When I worked in an office, I was responsible for managing a multi-line phone system, receiving packages and sorting mail, making photocopies, filing, data entry, greeting visitors, and answering questions. Before this, I worked for a burger fast food place where the mantra was “if you have time to stand you have time to clean”. From early on we are taught to do multiple things at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong, for certain things, multi-tasking is fine like walking and talking or showering while singing.
Another example might be YOU, reading this post, listening to a podcast or webinar in the background, while watching the children, cooking dinner and having a conversation with your spouse.
Or, maybe you’re watching Television while crocheting. You abide by the rule of “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” or “she does not eat the bread of idleness” or “fools fold their idle hands leading them to ruin” (Source: http://biblereasons.com/idle-hands/).
It is a common belief that multitasking saves time, but in the long run, something suffers. It could be the quality of work, your attention to relationships, unfinished work, or exhaustion. Instead, why not try focusing? It helps you concentrate on one task or thought at a time, helping you create a better result for each task you take on.
Here are 5 of The Biggest Problems
Switching from one task to another all day long drains your brain. It confuses it because it has to reorient itself for each task.Switching from one task to another all day long drains your brain and MORE #multitaskingClick To Tweet
1. Attention and Memory Loss
Harvard Communications Professor, Clifford Nass led a study on multitasking published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He found that people who use social media and other electronic mediums have difficulty focusing and score lower on memory tests. One reason is that they have a diminished ability to filter out environmental distractions.
2. Reduced Cognitive Performance
study led by Zheng Wang, a professor at Ohio State University found that multitasking caused students to feel productive, however, the results showed they were actually reducing their cognitive skills. Students who felt the need to study or work increased multitasking. But, Wang says that the results wanted (better studying or productive work) were not met.
3. The Loss of Personal Relationships
How many of you talk on the phone while checking out at the grocery store? Did you ever consider how this made the checker feel? Ignored. Not worth your time. This is just one example. How many moms and dads ‘fake listen’ to their children’s grand stories of the happenings of their day? I know I did and still do at times. In fact, just today my husband caught me ignoring the very conversation I started. People don’t like being ignored and eventually, they’ll go find someone who gives them the attention they desire.
4. A Loss in Productivity
Just like the study by Professor Wang found, multitasking makes you less productive even though you feel that you are doing more. Professor Nass also found that it makes you more distracted by outside stimuli. Switching from one task for 5 minutes to another for 3 minutes and then yet another for 7 minutes defeats your purpose – productivity. You lose time and have to refocus each time you switch a task.
5. Multiple Substandard Projects
You may be able to get your to-do list checked off but what about the quality of the work? Is it really worth it to produce a shoddy product or publish a poor blog post just to say you completed it? I’m sure you’re saying NO!
Multitasking, although it makes you feel productive actually diminishes your productivity. Right now, I’m thinking about email, clients orders, and completing this post. All this does for me is make me stressed. So, I stopped, refocused on my writing, and now I am putting the final touches on this post.
Today, take the time to review your task list. Prioritize it and then break each job into smaller pieces that can be tackled in 25-minute blocks of time. Use the Pomodoro Timer if you don’t already and remember to take your breaks.
Do you multitask? Have you ever recorded the benefits?
Multitasking doesn’t have to be part of your everyday. You can outsource many of the small tasks to a virtual assistant such as formatting your latest blog post or finding and creating blog images. Have your assistant do your article and keyword research OR have her transcribe your podcast into a downloadable PDF.
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