Multitasking is a very popular idea, a buzzword with wide acceptance, and one of the best ways to waste your time and raise your stress level, both at work and at home.
University of Michigan psychologists demonstrated in a detailed five-year study that multitasking actually makes people less effective at their jobs. Because the human brain needs time to shift gears between tasks, the more switching back and forth you have to do the less proficiently you will tackle any of it. The “time cost” of refocusing your attention may be only a few seconds with each switch, but the researchers found that, over time, it reduced people’s total efficiency by 20% to 40%.
“Multitasking” is just a stupid “new economy” buzzword for “I am incapable of paying attention to anything for more than two seconds”. How exactly did such utter inability to concentrate and get work done become the badge of honor that it is for so many small business owners and middle managers?
Here’s a thought; if you are so innundated with distractions and interruptions that you need to “multitask”, then perhaps you are not important and dynamic, perhaps you are just really, really bad at getting things accomplished. Stop wasting your time reading two or three monitors worth of useless data while talking on the phone and eating your lunch at your desk, hire a secretary, turn off the phone, close your email client, and get some actual work done.