You may think that you’re awesome at multitasking, but according to cognitive psychologist Art Markman, “You are your own worst judge of how good a multitasker you are.” This is because the same areas of your brain that monitor performance are the same areas activated by multitasking, which means that it’s difficult to accurately evaluate your own performance.
Every business owner wishes to be an expert multitasker, but not every person can pull it off. Currently, there’s a major debate going on about the effectiveness of multitasking. Productivity experts will argue that the quality of work goes down when it’s being accomplished by multitasking. Additionally, a project accomplished by multitasking can take 33% longer to do than projects that are given undivided attention.
Markman makes the case in his book Smart Thinking that it’s actually impossible for the human brain to focus on two different things at the same time. For tasks that we would commonly categorize as multitasking, Markman would instead refer to these tasks as time-sharing. As explained by Entrepreneur.com:
Your brain can only actively think about one task at a time, so you focus on one task, then another takes its place, just like vacationers occupying a timeshare property. The shift is so fast you don’t even notice that you’re only doing one thing at once. You feel like you’re multitasking, but you are actually time-sharing.
Proponents of multitasking would argue differently. After all, you’re able to both walk and chew gum, drive your car and listen to music, talk on the phone while cleaning the house, and much more. Additionally, in today’s fast-paced business world the demands for your time can feel crushing, and when your calendar is full, it makes sense to attempt multitasking in order to achieve everything that you need to get done.
Adding to the popularity of multitasking is the sense of empowerment that we feel from the many productivity apps at our fingertips through our mobile devices. Mobile technology makes it possible to edit a document while exercising, participate in a conference call while organizing the finances, organize your calendar while eating at a restaurant, and much more. Anybody that gets work done in this manner walks away feeling like they achieved more than if they would have only worked on one project at a time. Actual scientific data to justify such feelings may prove otherwise, but even if it does, you as a modern worker are still unlikely to cease incorporating multitasking throughout your workday.
If you’re looking to increase productivity, then we can help you by equipping your business with productivity technology. There are a lot of great solutions on the market that promise to streamline operations by allowing you to do more in a shorter period of time. There’s also several mobile solutions that will free you from your desk and open up a whole new world of productivity and multitasking; solutions like cloud computing and mobile devices.
Once your business is equipped with productivity solutions, you can use these three productivity tips from psychology professional Nadia Goodman to stay on task and not get distracted.
- Work on related tasks together.
- Keep your to-do list visible.
- Use downtime to review new information.
If you’re going to attempt to multitask, then it’s important to be proactive about battling distractions so that you can quickly switch between the different tasks. This way, you won’t lose time between the two tasks figuring out, “Now what was it that I was working on?”
Do you consider yourself to be a great multitasker, or are you looking to become a better one? If so, then share with us your secrets in the comments, or contact PACE Technical Services at 905.763.7896!