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June 6, 2016

Multi-tasking Takes Too Much Time!

Multi-tasking is unproductive, and recent research supports this. However, when I teach my GO System to employees, someone in the class usually insists they have to multi-task to get things done. They can’t imagine that doing tasks sequentially can be more positively productive even though it usually is.

What is multi-tasking? man multitasking

It’s doing two or more tasks simultaneously, such as filing and listening to music; answering the phone, writing an e-mail, and making decisions; driving and texting or checking e-mail. This last is not just unproductive; it’s dangerous!

When we multi-task, we think we are doing several tasks simultaneously, but we’re not. Actually we are serial tasking. This means that our focus moves from one task to the other so quickly that we don’t notice the switch. If you rapidly turn a light on and off, you have less total light than if you turn it on and leave it on. The same applies to focus.

Does multi-tasking ever work?

Research tells us that it can work if each task involves a different part of the brain and you can do one of them so well, you don’t have to think about it. For example, you can file and listen to music as long as the music has no lyrics. If the music has lyrics, your brain tries to focus on the names of the files and where they go while listening to the words in the lyrics of the music, so you are more likely to misfile something.

Why not stop multi-tasking for a month and see how much more you get done in less time?

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