Multitasking Gets You Nowhere, Fast
Have you ever watched someone attempting to do several things at once in the workplace?
Their energy level is high, they’re constantly in motion and they look like the kind of worker every organization wants to have. But if you look closer you can see they’re not accomplishing much. Or else they’re getting it done slower and with more mistakes than people who focus on one activity at a time.
We have a word for this behavior. It’s called multitasking. More than just a popular buzzword, multitasking has become a workplace badge of honor that many proudly wear. But current research shows that multitasking does not serve us well, and that we engage in the behavior at our own peril.
The problem isn’t so much that we don’t do well at multitasking. It’s that we think we do. In today’s time-deprived, more-on-our-plates-than-we-can-handle-at-one-time workplace, multitasking seems like a sensible approach to the incessant demands on our time and attention. So we continue to engage in the behavior, even in the face of increasing evidence that suggests we do so to our own detriment.