The Myth of Multi-Tasking

Trying to do more than one thing at once (i.e. multi-tasking) is a waste of time & effort.

The fact is that you can only do one thing at once and every time you start a new task requires a degree of “ramp up”. The more times you spend stopping and starting then the more time you waste “ramping up”. This is inefficient.

Worse still, one person trying to multi-task can waste the effort of others. Who hasn’t been in a meeting with someone who is answering emails but then can’t contribute or respond to a question until it is repeated? He or she has just wasted the entire group’s time . . . thanks for that!

We all know our jobs are complicated and require us to complete many different tasks each day. This variety is a good thing, it keeps our jobs interesting and motivating. But we can’t let our work control us, we need to control it by knowing when to stop a task and then start another. If you’re finding that you need to multi-task then it’s probably a good indication that you’re not in control of your work. You’ll need to make some changes to improve your productivity.

Some tactics that might help: Plan your day by prioritizing your work. Complete the highest priority task first, before moving onto lower priority tasks. Periodically check emails to see if anything urgent needs to be attended to. If an email has come in that you need to respond to but is a lower priority than your next task then answer it later. Schedule a block of time in your day to respond to low priority emails and other messages. Also, disable email pop up alerts, they’re a distraction that will cause you to stop what you are doing and reduce your productivity.

The Intellilink Team


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