- 8th February 2017
- Posted by: Kris Cook
- Category: Business Wellbeing
There’s a good chance that even whilst reading this you are doing something else. Checking your phone, your emails, watching the news out of the corner of your eye or eating your lunch.
Even if you are one of few readers who are 100% focused on the article, there’s still a good chance that you multitask during your working day.Recent research has shown that multitasking will make you dumb Click To Tweet
…but to what degree?
Multitasking is the act of undertaking many tasks at the same time, i.e. switching from one task to the next as well as going back and forth between alternative assignments.
This is common amongst those of us who don’t use to-do lists, which I am now proud to say ‘I do’.
But are there any downsides to multitasking?
Here are a few of the disadvantages of multitasking and below you will find ways of overcoming them.
When multitasking you’re not working on multiple tasks as you may think you are, but you are giving a certain task more effort than another. If you are going to do this then you might as well commit 100% to one task than say 70-30 on two consecutive tasks.
Wasted Time and Effort
Moving back and forth between tasks wastes productivity and when you factor in that it can take between 15-20 minutes before you can focus on what needs doing, this precious time is soon lost.
40% Drop In Productivity
Experts have also estimated that those who multitask have an estimated 40% drop in productivity. This can also introduce errors into the tasks, especially if one or more of the tasks involves critical thinking.
Multitasking research in 2009, shows that people who are busy doing two things at once didn’t see obvious events right in front of them.
They concluded that three quarter of college students, who walked from campus to campus, whilst on their phones, didn’t notice a clown riding a unicycle past them. This is ‘inattentional blindness’ and can become dangerous in certain situations. Think driving a car whilst on your mobile phone!
Multitasking at Work
As you can tell already, there are a lot of disadvantages when it comes to multitasking. Another major downside is how it will affect your working day.
A lack of productivity is a drawback that nobody wants to suffer, especially those of us who are running small businesses, where getting the most out of everything is key. This goes for employees too. Having each member of staff focus on one task at a time will have a huge difference on the overall outcome.
Disorganisation is often associated with multitasking, but it is even worse when you don’t realise that you are doing it. This is common in those who multitask, which is why it is crucial that you become aware of your habit and eradicate it as soon as possible.
The final sin of multitasking, and the most dangerous to any small business, is missing deadlines due to all the above. When you have tight deadlines the last thing you want to do is fail to meet it.
How to Get Over Multitasking Addiction
Here are several simple steps that you can take to overcome your multitasking addiction.
First of all you need to be aware that you are doing it. Checking your emails every two minutes, looking at the latest news on Reddit when you should be working, logging in to Facebook before you even get out of bed. These are some of the habits of a serial multitasker.
I was guilty of always checking my social media accounts all the time, even from a business perspective. ‘How many likes does my content have? Do I have any new subscribers? etc.’
To overcome this I put together a list of activities, which you can incorporate into your days to overcome multitasking addiction;
– Go for a thirty minute walk (at lunch-time if possible)
– Spend the weekend away from the internet (remote cabin optional)
– Play an active sport
– Remove electrical devices from your bedroom
– Start writing (a journal entry or poem will suffice)
– Listen to an album from start to finish
– Be creative
But remember to only do one task at a time.
I would like to know, do you currently struggle with balancing your working days? Is it multitasking stopping you from achieving or maybe you need a little extra help with automating your day. Leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out.