Is Multitasking Affecting Your Productivity?
Updated: Apr 3
The following is an article “Is Multitasking Affecting Your Productivity?” by Marc Primo.
Blessed are those who can shuffle a number of chores simultaneously and get everything done by the end of the day. Or are they really? With more studies out, experts say that multitasking can adversely affect your mental faculties and brain activity and is certainly considered NSFW. For many, the definition of the term has shifted from one which means being ultra-productive to the less desired ‘screwing everything at once’.
In 2009, Stanford University released a study showing that individuals who frequently multitasked were less mentally organized and usually have a difficult time discerning which details to apply in concurrent tasks. Somehow, your brain starts to struggle when it absorbs information and directions that come from different sources because understanding a sequence requires centered attention and minimal interruption.
To illustrate how mutitasking can give you more headaches than better profit, let’s run down a few of its negatives.
The pitfalls of multitasking
Studies have also shown that our brains find it hard to handle more than one complicated job at a time. Even simultaneous activities, which we are often unmindful of or think are forms of relaxation (such as balancing a sheet while listening to music), can also affect our efficiency. That’s because our brains are similar to a car’s gear stick and we have to first shift gears as we jump from one task to another.
It is said that multitasking not only lessens our ability to gather information but also diminishes our IQ, brain density, and emotional intelligence if we frequently practice it. This is where we break the glass and sound the alarm for millennials as they are the largest generational group who are guilty of this practice according to a study conducted by Bryan College. Millennials skim through social media platforms like wildfire—27 times in an hour on average to be exact. And what happens when they apply this ugly habit at work? Sloppy output, poor decisions, uninteresting content, and higher stress levels would be your top results.
This can spell disaster for any entrepreneur so take these following tips that can help you and your staff avoid diminished productivity.
How to prevent multitasking
One of the best things you can give your employees is a break. A literal one wherein they can stand up from their workstations from time to time (not just the usual lunch or coffee breaks), and give their minds a breather from work-related thoughts. This will relieve them of pressure and allow them to unwind momentarily before diving into a boardroom battle again.
One other thing you can help them develop is the power of focus. Encourage them to think about a specific project thoroughly one at a time and ask them what they think the project’s purpose is. Triggering their minds to be more careful and concentrate on particular aspects that all relate to one main objective develops the brain positively rather than confusing it with too much information.
Aside from allowing them to take breaks that ease their compulsion to act on impulse, and encouraging them to develop focus so they can make rational and sound decisions, creating a culture of teamwork and cohesion can also relieve them of work-related stress. Remember that even the word ‘multitasking’ has two I’s in it and not only one, and there’s also the word ‘ask’ in there, so invite your staff to work as a team in one project rather than letting them do complex jobs individually. Giving employees too much pressure on one complex job that entails multitasking will only exhaust them quickly and deliver half-baked results.
One thing’s for sure, multitasking for productive results is a myth and should not be tolerated by employers. Unless you yourself are Superman (who wouldn’t need staff to deliver great work day in and day out anyway), you just can’t expect your employees to act like they are stress and pressure-proof superheroes built to get multiple jobs done all at once.