Multitasking: Good or bad?
I know you have heard a lot about multitasking. It’s one of the components of our daily lives. Let’s face it, most of us have been a victim of multitasking. Most times, we cannot avoid it especially when you have a lot to do in a short period of time or when you are behind schedule. You have to be pretty good at it to keep up.
The sole aim of this blog post is to
- Define multitasking
- Tell us how effective multitasking is
- Some of its advantages and disadvantages
- How to avoid it
What Is Multitasking?
It is the ability to perform two or more tasks or activities at the same time. That way, you switch back and forth from one thing to another. For instance, taking business calls, cooking, and babysitting at the same time.
“ Multitasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” Jeremy Clarkson.
We usually see multitasking as a great way of doing a lot of things at the same time. It creates an illusion that makes us feel like we are productive. The efficiency of multitasking is less. You should focus on one task and complete it before going to the next.
When you multitask, you try to make the brain work faster while switching between activities. You may think that you are actually paying attention, but you are not. You are simply forcing the brain to switch among various tasks since each task utilizes a specific part of the brain. Which goes to say, it will take you more time to efficiently complete the tasks you’re switching between. Also, you’re more likely to make errors, get stressed, frustrated, and a lot of time pressure when you rush and switch between activities.
Multitasking can cause a lot of interruptions which are usually self-inflicted. For instance, Working on a task and switching tabs to check an email is a self-inflicted interruption. When we go back and forth on short notice, our brain utilizes a lot of cognitive energies . Our brain, unlike a tennis ball, takes a little time to switch directions and get back on track.
Furthermore, research has shown that each time you multitask or get distracted from what you are doing, it takes the brain approximately 24 minutes to return to its original task after an interruption.
- Multitasking can save time
- Makes you active and sharp
- Makes you think fast
- It trains your mind
- It increases flexibility
- Can help you if you are in time-trouble
- It’s a helpful tool to manage your family and your job
- It Improves resilience
- It can help complete simple tasks
- Helps you handle chaos
- It is helpful if you work in a leading position in a company
- Enables you to adapt to new situations
- Multitasking can be stressful: it increases the risk of Burnout due to increased workload
- It decreases your attention span which leads to a high risk of errors
- It can decrease productivity and quality of work
- Multitasking may lead to mental issues and burnout
- Can lead to irritability
- Multitasking can even lower the overall efficiency of people
- It encourages procrastination
- It can lead to frustration
- People may act like machines
- It wastes time: it takes about 24minutes to switch from one activity to the next which creates a time gap. Even the multitasking pros still have this challenge.
- Wrong priorities
- Increased disorganization
- Multitasking reduces the ability to make connections and the ability to recall a thing
“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” Gary Keller
HOW TO AVOID MULTITASKING.
- Break the habit
- Limit the number of activities you juggle. Do one thing at a time
- Mix your activities correctly.
- Try to create a schedule or To-do list.
- Try your best to walk with the schedule you created
- Avoid procrastination, try your best to finish a task before the deadline.
- Choose better tools.
- Create boundaries, learn to say “no” to avoid overwhelming your schedule
- Turn off/ silence your phones or notifications that might be distracting.
In conclusion, even if multitasking has become your lifestyle, you can still do something about it. By completing one activity at a time for each task and directing your full concentration towards solving it, you’ll accomplish better results.
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey