The clock is racing and you’re on the move again: juggling a project here, moving in and out of meetings there . . . You are an expert at multi-tasking. As a whole, we navigate the workplace like it’s a jungle. Hastiness is the new norm and accepted as part of the job requirement. While the work needs to get done, it’s important to ask which is better– taking on multiple objectives at once, or to zone in and focus on one task at a time?
Take on multiple things at once, boost efficiency. Doesn’t juggling workloads mean we accomplish tasks faster? We may feel like we’re achieving superhuman feats, but the reality is that we aren’t really being as productive as we’d like to think. In fact, it’s actually taking us longer to get work done. The reason? We spend more time focusing on the actual mechanics of multi-tasking– switching back and forth. Instead accomplishing things faster, we actually decrease our productivity by 40%.
It takes us twice the time to complete something while multi-tasking because we are never fully in the zone. A study from the University of Utah shows that even the simple act of trying to drive and talk on the phone can slower our driving speeds. Besides the safety hazard, this multi-tasking act resulted in drivers taking much longer to reach their destination while using their phone, rather than just focusing on driving.
Be productive without multi-tasking. For all the busybodies of the workplace, there is still a way to win at productivity. Before you take on your duties for the day, clear your mind from any previous distractions. ManagementCraft offers the solution of multi-chunking, a process where you only focus on one priority for a chunk of time. The key is planning out your time and what your day will look like beforehand, rather than scrambling last minute. The second and most important factor is that you are only dedicating your time to one task at a time.
Multi-tasking is familiar to the busy world of our society, but the myth has been de-bunked. It is not the best strategy when trying to knock items off your to-do list and increase productivity. If you’re still not sold on the idea, French neuroscientists found that trying to multi-task actually splits your brain in two. One side of the brain focuses haphazardly on one task, while the other side of the brain focuses on the other task. The study also suggests that we can only really try to multi-task two objectives and any more can increase error, stress, and heart rate.
Do you still try to multi-task? Tweet us @CareerPlug and let us know!
Justin Zuniga is CareerPlug’s sales & marketing intern.