Multitasking – A Study

Group of businessman run and beat for time


Professionals often multitask to increase their productivity. For instance, a resource talks on the phone to her superior while at the same time typing her to-do list for the day. Then she reads the instructions of her superior while starting the day’s work. In this world of fast activities, a person who can perform more than one task at a time is considered efficient. However, multitasking can claim the quality of the work done and thus, time taken to complete it properly. In this article, we will discuss the problems that are attached to multitasking and identify the reasons of not doing it.

Myth of Productivity

Multitasking has been studied by many analysts over the years and most of them have reached the same deduction that multitasking is not a means to become more productive.

  • Studies have proved that multitasking results in wastage of about twenty to forty percent of the time. It is not possible for a professional to focus on more than one task at a time. However, most people do not realize that and end up multitasking.
  • When a professional tries to do two things at a time, she tries to focus on both of them. If while writing an email to a colleague, she has to listen to another colleague, she cannot concentrate on both things at a time. It is true that these activities consist of different skills, but when she tries to send an email she cannot concentrate on what the speaker is trying to tell her. Again, while she tries to speak to someone she also endeavors to send an email. Both these activities require communication. The professional cannot properly focus on both the acts properly. As she tries to shift from one task to the other, her mind gets overwhelmed with the information at hand
  • The greatest issue with multitasking is that it reduces the work quality. People try to do two or more things at a time and at the end cannot render complete efficiency to any one of them.
  • When a professional switches task; her mind reorganizes to handle the new set of information. If this shift of concentration takes place rapidly, she cannot focus on any one of them. Thus, the work quality of the professional is compromised. The more complicated the type of work, the more difficult it is to make the shift at rapid rate. For example, it would be quite impossible to prepare an effective presentation while engaged in an important conversation with a colleague.
  • Moreover, multitasking has negative effect on the mind of the professional. Not only this, people also become physically exhausted.

On the other hand, if she focuses on one just one task, she can show more efficiency. She gets the feeling that the quality of the work is also good. As a result, she gets into the flow of the work.

Understanding Tendency to Multitask

  • It is difficult to understand the tendency of multitasking. However, some indicators actually help in identifying the tendency.
  • If a professional keeps open many tabs on her computer, it proves that she is multitasking. People tend to multitask when they have less interest in a task. For example, a professional might not be much interested in preparing a spreadsheet. In that case she might rapidly do research on other topics or even check her email account. This, she does to reduce the pressure of the difficult work.

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Stopping Multitasking

If professionals desire to decrease their stress level or enhance her efficiency, they should get rid of the habit of multitasking. Mentioned below are some of the techniques that can be followed to avoid multitasking.

  • She should maintain a record that tells her about the people who interrupt the most while she is at work. Depending upon the urgency of the interruptions she can deal with them later on. She should also approach them in a polite way to make them realize that not all interruptions are welcome at the time of work.
  • If she feels like doing something else while she is at work, she should focus all her attention on the work at hand.
  • She should gather knowledge on techniques of improving her concentration, so that she comes to know how to focus on a particular work at a time. If she is in the habit of multitasking, she may feel somewhat awkward initially. But, in course of time she realizes the positive impact of the practice on the quality of her work.
  • If, in the middle of multitasking, the professional realizes what she is doing, she should immediately stop herself. She should take small breaks or meditate for a brief period of time in order to refocus her mind. She can meditate by looking at a point in the room for five minutes. This helps in increasing level of concentration and lowering the level of stress.
  • In the event that she has set an audible alert when her messages or emails come in, she should turn the sounds off. As a result, she will not check her inbox every time she learns about the entry of a new mail.
  • If the professional is doing something and finds her concentration drifting from that task, she should acknowledge the moment. For instance, she is having an important discussion with her superior and she loses interest in it. She should put herself back in the moment. This will help her to stay focused on the situation at hand.
  • There are times when the professional has to do another work while she is doing one task. In these circumstances she should carefully note down the techniques she had been thinking about to take ahead the task she was doing. Then she should do the urgent work.

To Sum Up

From this article, it can be deduced that time management tools help in increasing personal effectiveness and multitasking is not always the best way to increase efficacy. In fact, it often leads to low quality of work being delivered by a professional.

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