Multitasking is the habit of juggling more than one task at a time with the intention of trying to get more done. This can be as simple as having multiple screens open at once; or working on a report while your emails constantly flash and ping; or allowing interruptions from colleagues.
Are you a multi-tasker? Let’s hope not.
- cost you as much as 40% of your productivity
- decrease your performance, raise the chances of low output, increase completion times and compound your backlog
- promote the release of stress hormones and adrenalin (just thinking about multitasking can cause this physical reaction)knock up to 10 points from your IQ, which is the equivalent to losing a night’s sleep and twice the effect of smoking marijuana.
Don’t get me wrong. True multi-tasking is a genuine and wonderful skill. Unfortunately, only 2.5% of the human race can actually do it. These beings are so rare that they are called Super-taskers. The more they juggle the less active their brains become. Or in other words, the more they take on at once, the more efficiently they perform. Damn them.
For the rest of us mere mortals, multi-tasking is fundamentally a stop-start- stop-start- stop-start random process of inefficiency. Can you pack your bag while booking accommodation and flights on your phone while mentally make a list of everything you need to do before your flight while paying attention to your 12 year old who didn’t get invited to a party while yelling at your 14 year old to check whether you turned the iron off? Of course you can. But the chance of error is high as your brain attempts to quickly flip between competing tasks.
So, let’s put multi-tasking to bed. It does not work. Your best and only time investment tool for this one is to single focus – and watch your productivity go through the roof.