Is Multitasking The Enemy of Productivity?

Are you still trying to multitask? 

You’ve probably heard by now that there has been lots of research that shows that we are slower and less accurate when we try to do two things at once. 

It slows our productivity by almost 40 percent. 

So why do we do it?

Among the reasons is because we have become impatient. Dr.Joanne Cantor, Ph.D., wrote in Psychology Today that we are used to doing things faster.  We don’t need to go to the library when we have Google at our fingertips. “We’re so used to instantaneous digital searching that we can no longer even fathom the idea of dial-up Internet access,” she writes. “These days, if we’re listening to someone who’s a slow talker, we check our email in the pauses. “

Plus, we think our employers want us to work faster. And technology makes it easier to do so. Cantor writes that most computer screens allow us to have multiple applications open simultaneously. It almost begs us to do more. 

But there may be times when multitasking isn’t detrimental.

A 2015 University of Florida study showed that it might work in certain situations.Some people can make it work. But the percent of people is tiny, only about 2 percent. What are the odds this includes you?

– Those who think they are good at multitasking are usually the worst.

Before you want to ignore advice not to multitask, remember that the downsides still outweigh some of these benefits for most people. 

– Quantity begins to replace quality. 

– Stress levels increase while multitasking

– More mistakes are made

– You have less time to think creatively. 

– In addition, we know that when you switch from one task to another, some of our brain capacity is still focused on what you were doing previously

It also depends on the kind of multitasking you are doing. For example, listening to music while checking email is usually OK. But, checking email while working on an essential presentation or building your budget is almost certain to fail. 

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