Monday, July 4, 2016

Five Reasons Why Multitasking Kills Productivity

 "In the modern desktop environment, with multitasking and alerts and constant activity, there are always more distractions. When you are at a computer, your hands are always on the controls.” –Marco Arment

Multitasking has been widely considered as a form of distraction by itself; yet surprisingly, a lot of people would still do it in their endeavors in doing more productive work. Unfortunately for chronic multitaskers, studies have shown that the brain, however, prevailing and powerful, is still human and thus limited. It does not have the same multitasking capacity as your computers do and overworking it past its breaking point—say, focusing on five things at once can cause detrimental damage to your work tasks. No matter how skilled you may be, if you split your attention to more than what your brain can handle, chances are you would be committing a lot of errors along the way and would instead be putting fires out throughout the day.

From that perspective, multitasking is indeed counterintuitive to productivity. Regardless of whether you are working for a law firm or an SEO company in the Philippines, multitasking should not be a core technique in improving productivity. Here are the top reasons why multitasking runs counter to work efficiency and productivity.

1.)    It is slowing you down

Contrary to popular belief, you do not achieve more tasks in lesser time by multitasking. On the surface, it may look like you are speeding through tasks. But when you are jumping back and forth from task to another, it will take you longer to finish two tasks than it had been if you attempted to complete each one of them separately. Instead of doing things at one time, do things in batches and you would effectively save more time. Send your emails all at once, pay your bills all at once and the like.

 2.)    You are making more mistakes

Essentially, because your attention is split and your focus is fragmented, you are likely to commit more mistakes than focusing solely on one task. In fact, experts have estimated that switching between tasks can cause you about 40% loss of productivity. From this standpoint, you can readily see how multitasking would hardly help you at all, most especially if what you are doing requires critical thinking. The brain can handle as much as only two tasks to do at once. Adding a third more, however, would overwhelm it and likely increase the number of errors you commit.

3.)    It causes you unnecessary stress

The physical act of multitasking causes stress, but incidentally, so will its consequences. Additionally, multitasking is potentially precarious to your health. This is because the rush of adrenaline and other stress-related hormones into the blood stream can cause permanent damage to the brain cells that store memories. If multitasking is something you chronically do every single day, you might eventually find yourself having trouble completing tasks even just one thing at a time.

 4.)    It tends to make you overeat

Distractions occurring during mealtimes have been proven to prevent your brain from fully processing what you have eaten. Mainly, this is the reason why you would not feel as full and may be tempted to scoop more food into your mouth or eat again after a short while.  One way to make sure you are paying enough attention to what you are eating is to refrain from turning on the television when you are eating. During meal times, let your focus rest on the food alone and nothing else.

 5.)    You are missing out on life

It all boils down to this: When you are focused on doing so many things at one time, you will neglect to see the most obvious things right in front of you. You may be looking at your phone while still taking stock of your surroundings, but chances are, you would not even notice what is truly going on in your environment. This phenomenon is called “inattentional blindness” and though you may be looking at your surroundings, it would not register in your brains.

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