Are you a self-proclaimed multi-tasker?
It’s okay to admit it. We love to brag about all the balls we’re “effectively” juggling at once. We wear the multitasking moniker as a badge of honor.
Time for a reality check…
Multi-taskers are the least productive people of all.
Worse than procrastinators and deliberate workers (aka purposely slow). Here’s why:
Our brains are not designed to multitask. In fact, the word “multitasking” wasn’t even created for people. It’s mainstream introduction came in 1966 to describe new capabilities in computing.
“Multi-tasking is defined as the use of a single CPU for the simultaneous processing of two or more jobs.” ~ Datamation Magazine, 1966
What humans are actually doing is “task switching,” rapidly changing focus from one thing to another. This comes with significant productivity costs.
According to Joshua Rubinstein, PhD, Jeffrey Evans, PhD, and David Meyer, PhD, each task switch is relatively small. Only 1/10th of a second. But, when you do a lot of switching during the day (as we all do) it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.
Plus, you make more mistakes. If the tasks are complex and/or significantly different, the error penalties skyrocket and task proficiency and speed to complete begin to plummet.
Here’s the kicker…the more you multitask, the worse your brain’s ability to concentrate becomes. John Walston, Resourceful Manager
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