MULTITASKING: Good or Bad?xml

I’m sure it’s a term most of our readers are familiar with. Some would probably go as far as calling it a way of life. Some claim that they’re a professional and others swear against it. Multitasking by definition is the simultaneous execution of multiple tasks at one time. As I sit here, writing this blog, I am guilty of multitasking. I am writing but also thinking about my To-Do list, the upcoming weekend, and the text my BFF just sent me. But that brings me to this question: is it really possible to do two or more things at one time? Are you really putting 100% effort into all three tasks at once? I don’t think so. According to Peter Bregman, a strategic advisor to CEO’s and their leadership teams, doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves to think we’re getting more accomplished. In reality, we are being 40% less productive. That sounds about right to me. Think about all of the times you are sending an email and listening to your co-worker’s juicy story. You cannot possibly get every detail of the story and still produce an eloquent, mature email. You end up re-reading your email multiple times to correct grammar mistakes. Or worse, you send an incomplete email.

I can think of a very famous multitask that has more tragic stories than good ones. Texting and driving. I’m sure everyone is guilty of it. If you’re not, than more kudos to you. How many times have you heard your phone ring, look down at the funny picture your roommate sent you, and by the time you look up the breaks of the car in front of you are too close for comfort? Another famous multitask is listening to music while writing a paper for school. Again, everyone does it but how many people actually thrive?

The work place is an important place where multitasking should be brought to an extreme low. At your job I would suggest multitasking the least amount possible because this is the place where you want to put your best foot forward and prove that you are capable. It is possible to increase your productivity without having to multitask. Yes, you have deadlines to meet, projects to finish, emails to answer, phone calls to return, errands to run after work, and maintain a social life but so do the rest of us. There is a way to get through it all. You just have to work on your time management skills and unfortunately those are skills that you have to teach yourself.

Some key advice for coping with your time management skills are this:

  1. Don’t let your emails pile up.
  2. Do the most important things first.
  3. Keep yourself extremely organized. Yes, that means your desk too.
  4. Know when you work best.
  5. Organize a to-do list every morning.

My point is that multitasking will hurt us more than it will help us. It is better to do one thing to the best of your ability, with all of your attention focused on it than doing three things half as good as they could be.

–Amanda Pryor

Leave a Reply