Multitasking Effects — Harmful Or Good?
What Are The Effects Of Multitasking?
The Brain cannot multitask. Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. — John Medina
“Multitasking Effects — harmful or good?” Ram sighed.
Ram works in an Accounting firm for the last 7 years. He is one among of those employees who saw the growth of the company from the initial days. The profits, the expansion and the demands from the increasing client-base increased their need to do multitask. The availability of Technology Tools helps them to cope with this multitasking.
Ram desk is filled with client files and his email count is hiking day by day. Clients ring his mobile non-stop all the day long. Requests from his co-workers and Project expectations from his boss pop-out as notifications on the IM(Instant Messaging) service.
I’m sure this is not just Ram’s everyday, many of us can relate to this. Or to be precise, worse than this. And this is only one side of the story, there’s many other areas where we do multitasking these days. In our personal life too — online and offline.
How Multitasking entered into our Ecosystems?
Initially, multitasking entered into our workplaces as an effective strategy for time-management. It has gained trust gradually and became an integral part of work that it became a household name at work. But.. is it true multitasking is really helping businesses these days? Before seeing into that, let’s learn more about multitasking.
1. Let’s see..
What is Multitasking?
As the name suggests, it is doing multiple tasks at the same time. Doing more than one activity at a time. Even though it has pros, it comes with it’s own cons.
What are examples of Multitasking?
- Replying on Instant Messaging while working on a project report.
- Working about more than one projects at the same time.
- Listening to podcasts while doing domestic chores.
- Researching on too many topics at the same time.
- Attending calls and answering emails.
- Speaking over phone while driving.
- Cooking while feeding kids.
Is Multitasking helpful at Work?
Of course, it is. That’s why, it gained lot of popularity. To name a few,
- It is great advantage to save time and money, a cost saving benefit.
- It is helpful to people in leading and challenging roles.
- It helps to work on multiple projects at same time.
- It helps large firms dealing with many projects.
Does multitasking effects productivity in Workplaces?
Definitely, it does. As they say — Too much of Anything Hurts.
- Multitasking indeed slows down the work productivity.
- There is a ‘time lost’ while switching between various tasks — so the main purpose of gaining cost and time benefits will be lost.
- For big Businesses with huge number of projects, it would add value, but this wont work help for small firms which needs focus.
- Multitaskers develop focus issues in long run.
- They get distracted easily.
The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time…To put it bluntly, research shows that we can’t multitask. — John Medina
3. The Reality..
Let’s see what the studies say..
With this understanding and knowledge about multitasking, let’s see what the studies say about multitasking:
a. Multitasking leads to as much as 40% drop in productivity. (Harvard Business Review).
b. Multitaskers make up to 50% more errors. (John Medina, Brain Rules)
c. In a study of Microsoft employees, it is found, workers took 15mins to get back to the intense tasks like report writing after responding to mails or Instant messages.
4. The Way Forward..
It really hurts the workplaces, if not handled correctly. We have taken multitasking too far that it started showing the negative effects.
With time, it will develop focus issues and the multitasker becomes easily distractible. Indeed multitasking hampers productivity.
In the earlier days — it showed better results, as we were using it at a minimal. Or in minimal areas. With the advent of internet and social media and in the era of big data — every area of life is demanding to do more. This makes it tough to keep the same pace and do multitasking everywhere, I believe.
Multitasking comes with it’s own Pros and Cons. We should know — where and how much is needed and use it for a benefit. But applying it everywhere and expecting the same kind of results, round the clock is not good.
Human brain is amazing, yet human! Don’t force it beyond the limits. It’s not made for it.
Lets accept the fact — multitasking lowers productivity and will comes with its own cons.
So, are you planning to Multitask..?