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January 2, 2017

Are You A Multitasker?

In my GO System workshop, most people raise their hands when I ask this question. Once upon a time, being a multitasker was considered something positive, but not now. Now we know that multitasking makes us less productive! That’s right. We lose productivity when multitasking.shutterstock_104666783

Recent studies show that performance suffers when focusing on more than one activity at a time, but job performance isn’t the only thing that suffers. Multitasking can be dangerous! The National Safety Council estimates that 28-percent of highway deaths result from drivers who are distracted by their phones.

When you perform two or more tasks simultaneously, you are flipping the switch on your attention from one task to the other. The switch occurs so fast, you aren’t even aware it’s happening. While you think that you are performing multiple activities at the same time, you aren’t. You’re not multitasking; you’re serial tasking.

Think about a light switch. If you flip it on and off quickly, you have little light to see by. It’s only when you switch it on and leave it on that you get the illumination you need. It’s the same with focus. Switching back and forth when you are serial tasking makes you less productive!

Despite proof that multitasking just doesn’t work, we continue to do it because we believe that we can’t get everything done without it. However, it’s time to challenge that belief. Try this experiment. When you find yourself multitasking, stop and complete one task and then do the other. Time yourself. You’ll be surprised to discover that you are more productive doing things sequentially rather than simultaneously.

 

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