We all multi task in some shape or form, watch tv and browse the phone, eat breakfast and read the paper. Walk to school and eat crisps. In fact life would be pretty mundane unless we multi task to some extent. Usually when the task at hand does not require 100% attention multi tasking begins.
Are we actually multi tasking.
Focus and attention is a valuable resource, ever browse a news story on a phone and capture the dialogue on screen at the same time, unlikely. Multi tasking is the method of putting attention on more than one activity in turn, sharing attention and focus in an uneven manner until at some point you end the activity you call multi tasking. Computers may execute instructions in parallel or they may execute instructions in short bursts in turn, we do not have the programming to be able to fire finite resources at one activity, flick to a second activity and back again to where we left on.The cost of doing this to us is inefficiency.
Things fall apart quickly when one or both of the tasks begin multi tasks become more complex. At best the other task looses focus time and ends or at worst frustration and stress builds as two tasks compete in for attention and resources slip further and further behind schedule.
Impact to your person is your short term working memory. The scratchpad we all use to work in the here and now. This device was never used to act like a 64bit processor running multiple threads of instructions.
Multi tasking has been proven to build anxiety and drain your precious energy levels. A cycle that is best avoided
Being creative requires clear thinking, being in the thick of a multi tasking web of activity is not the best place to be creative. When we are not being creative we are in filing mode. Or doing tasks that require no thinking.
The positives of ending multi tasking right now
There is no filing system that exists that can manage doing tasks at the same time, tasks simply recorded with what has to be done, the amount effort required to complete and the date it has to be done by. Following a system requires tasks to receive full undivided attention. Productivity takes off when your in the zone and being in the zone is not possible when your mind is switching between tasks.
Remove the switching between tasks from your activity and you will see productivity being rewarded. You may not be aware that each time you switch to do something else there is a certain amount of processing that goes on to reconnect to where you left off. This does not go unnoticed, physical symptoms such as eye strain or head aches could be as a result of the additional focus a mind power being expended simply on switching tasks multiple times.
To keep to your primary rule of meeting deadlines, you must remove multi tasking from your work ethic. Timed boundaries is a good way to close one task and begin another as long as it is just not an exec use to try and cram doing two things in the time allocated to do one.
- Keep focused
- Stay on Task
- Remove task switching resources
- Get into the zone
- Less stressful
- Being more creative
- Stay focused on the task at hand and keep to your primary rule of meeting deadlines
14 Reasons Multitasking is not good for you
1. Multitasking creates more opportunity to be distracted
Doing more than one thing at once leads to a greater risk of distraction which ultimately leads to a less productive outcome.
2. Multitasking makes you less effective
Splitting on your mind and more than one activity reduces your effectiveness on the main task at hand. Jumping from one thing to another. A computer that runs processes in parallel allocates resources in a manner that each process receives 100% attention, humans do not work in such algorithmic patterns.
3. Multitasking will slow down your thinking
Many things on the go at once tends to lead to a cluttered mind. Cluttered thinking can take unrelated problems from other tasks and interrupt the current task for a solution.
4. Multitasking increases errors
Juggling multiple tasks and multiple priorities leads to significant amount of logistical overhead, just to keep all the moving parts moving. The cost to you is the time to make sure the job at hand is completed, reviewed and submitted. With Other competing tasks underway, the review cycle is usually skipped in preference to moving on to the other outstanding tasks. Is it the best job you could do? well under the circumstances, you might say in response.
5. Multitasking increases the time a single task takes to complete
Concentrate on a single task with no clutter or distraction will always win a swamped multi-tasker any day. Multitasking must not be confused with working smart. Back in the day there were people with clip boards with the job title, ‘time and motion’. These folks would work out the most efficient way to do a job (allegedly). Usually associated with factory production type work but you get the idea, humans work best in a methodical logical way.
6. April fools, you have not been multi tasking after all
You are in fact running tasks one at a time, with rapid changes between tasks, so what is there not to like. Unlike a computer where the switching is efficient and logical and also literally run in parallel those rapid changes for us mere mortals are usually brought on by disruptions, distractions and/or competing priorities. The way the tasks end up being worked on is altogether quite random and randomness results in higher stress and poor efficiency. On paper of course it does seem like you are multi tasking.
7. Multitasking slows it all down
Lets do some maths, it takes 1 hour to complete a task, and 30 minutes each to completed 2 other tasks. That is 2 hours of work. As a signed up multi tasker you start work on the 1 hour task and while parts of that wait for queries to run you pop up the other 30 minute jobs on your screen. Everything is running great speed. Then you realise the query that was running on the 1 hour task, which should have ended after 3 minutes ago ended 15 minutes ago, Stop what your working on and flick back to the 1 hour task. Which query is that run, for again. Maybe a rerun might be needed. STOP, I am getting stressed just writing this approached!
8. Multitasking taxes your memory
Switching tasks requires a reboot of the task, you have to reload your RAM to understand where you left off and what you are doing next. We all know how volatile RAM is, if you are a bona fide multi-tasker you better have a rock solid method of turning your RAM to ROM. And if you do not know your ROM from your RAM. RAM = your memory, ROM = Write it down.
9. Multitasking raises your stress levels
Stress turns on when the work load goes up and the things start to go wrong. Multitasking is the perfect storm to tip you over the edge.
10. Hidden Multitasking challenges we all face
Think you do tasks sequentially and this list does not apply, think again. A study of office workers who were split into two groups, group A had set email free time zones during the day and like most folks group B just carried on as normal, responding to the pings. You guessed it, stress levels, heart rate levels of Group B where significantly higher when dealing and reacting to the random and sometimes constant interruptions throughout the day.
Email and social media is a significant source of Multitasking noise
11. Multitasking leads to greater inattentional blindness
Running tasks side by side is somewhat fooling you that you are concentrating equally on both tasks. You can prove this to yourself by having a telephone conversation about one task while writing to complete another. Your either in the conversation or your writing, you cannot be doing both. Compromise gives way to efficiency.
12. Multitasking begins to bite hard in old age
As we mature our brains take longer to fire up on the task at hand, switching tasks taxes that whole fire up process to the max. You guessed it, results in frustration, anxiety and stress.
13 Habits of eating at the computer and Multitasking
The more you start to see the dangers of a multitasking life style in work you realise the multitasking lifestyle runs deep. Eating and watching TV, eating and the computer, a working lunch. Traps of a multitasking lifestyle that does not give the mind a break all lead to lives that have no off switch.
14 Multitasking just who are you kidding
There is a reason the law was changed many years ago to prevent people driving a car while being on a mobile phone. We do not multitask at all well. We operate at some level of brief awareness while the mind works on the task in front of us at that moment.