The Myth and Reality of Multi-Tasking
Multi-tasking is not the most effective way to work through your task list and can slow down both productivity and efficiency.5
I get a lot of questions on multi-tasking: How to do more at once, ways to manage more tasks in less time, and how to basically be a super-person. I am not a huge fan of multi-tasking. I think it distracts us by its very nature – by definition, you are doing multiple things at one time. And most studies have shown that when you multi-task, you take up to four times longer to actually do each of the individual tasks than if you had simply done the tasks on their own.
So there isn’t a real benefit to multi-tasking. Although it may seem like we are doing more at once, in reality if our tasks are taking longer, it is not worth splitting our focus. In addition to how long things take when we are multi-tasking, it does not account for the quality of each of the individual tasks. When we focus on one task at a time we are able to devote all of our attention, resources and energy to it, and we tend to do a better job on the task when our focus is undivided. When we are splitting our focus, there is no way that we can devote all of our energy to any one of those tasks because by definition we are doing multiple at once. Instead, give each task the time it will take to accomplish it effectively on its own.
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