Is Multitasking Affecting Your Productivity?
Multitasking is a term used often in our business world. It’s considered so important that many companies use it in job descriptions or discuss multitasking abilities in interviews. We’ve been led to believe that multitasking may be the single most important professional attribute a person can bring to the table. But what if you found out that multitasking, as we understand it, is a myth? Brain health and psychological experts suggest that that our minds aren’t designed to focus on more than one task at a time. When someone says they multitask, in actuality, they’re rapidly switching between tasks. Multitasking can affect your overall performance, so what happens next? Here are things to think about regarding multitasking and your productivity.
- Mental traffic jam. In the world of psychology, multitasking is sometimes referred to as a traffic jam. Your brain is unable to process more than one thought at a time. If you have multiple, rapid-fire thoughts, you may be unable to focus on each one with enough detail to thoroughly complete an individual task. This creates a dam that will block progress rather than enhance it.
- Lack of focus means mistakes. When you are thinking about more than one thing at a time, it can be easy to confuse certain aspects. This can lead to more mistakes than if you focused on one task at a time. Rapidly switching from one task to another means you’re not able to concentrate on any one thing. Instead, focus on prioritizing tasks.
- Your stress becomes obvious. Multitasking can also make us feel overwhelmed. And when you feel overwhelmed, it’s pretty obvious to the people around you. Stress impacts your productivity as well as your working relationships. Stress can even be contagious within an office environment. Increased stress levels can also cause outbursts, which those around you might interpret as personal even when they’re not.
- Results in poor decisions. Throughout your process of multitasking, you may also be faced with making important decisions. And if you’re trying to do everything at once, your decision making skills can be compromised. You may not be able to see the forest through the trees. Each individual decision impacts the whole, but as you’re multitasking you might miss some of the subtleties and make inaccurate decisions.