I read an article a few weeks ago regarding multi-tasking (here), This Year, Resolve To Do Less Multi-Tasking via CNNMoney (“Plenty of people believe that doing several things at once makes them more productive. In fact, the opposite is true”). Granted, none of us are Boeing (at least not that I know of), but 64% is a huge number when it is statistical data that reflects increased productivity after a focus on less multi-tasking.
“Many people boast about their multitasking prowess on their resumes and in job interviews,” he adds. “But in reality, this is like saying, ‘I don’t get things done as quickly, or as well, as others do.'”
So, what really is multi-tasking? And why does it seem women are especially good at it?
Business Insider says (here): “Multi-tasking makes us dumber, less productive, and neither gender is better at it”
I agree more with comments in the article in TheWeek (here). “While ancient men were responsible primarily for hunting and gathering, women had to tend to the children, the house and all the other activities of daily living,” he said. “Over the years, women may have retained this ability, translating into an improved ability to multitask.”
Ladies, don’t get excited, the article goes on to drop the bomb (quote): So if I’m a woman, multitasking makes me more efficient? “Actually, probably not. There is evidence that multitasking is a drag on productivity for pretty much everyone, regardless of gender. The reason for that relates to basic structure of brain: The right and left hemispheres cooperate when working on a single task, says multitasking researcher Dr. Etienne Koechlin of France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research. “But in two tasks, one hemisphere covers the reward of one task and the other hemisphere covers the reward of the other.” That, unfortunately, applies to both genders.
So, if we are stressed, trying to juggle several tasks at once, are we becoming less efficient even though we feel we are knocking out the list fast and furious? Probably less efficient. What are we missing?
The ugly reality: Did I really miss paying that bill, and why? Oh, I was on Facebook, flipping back and forth between Pay The Bills on my bank account and Facebook. Sound the alarm – late fees. Did I really forget to turn the spigot off when refilling the smaller container of olive oil? Yes, I was checking on a recipe, and looking at packaging, and checking my phone, while the bottle was filling. Sound the alarm – one hour of clean up in the studio. Did I really miss that step when I fell to the ground? Sound the alarm – it hurt when I realized I was on the ground and was not thinking about safety first.
What do you think? Are we good at multi-tasking? Can we really multi-task and be efficient? Is there a sliding scale? “I can multi-task at this (fill in the blank), but not while doing that (fill in the blank).”
For now, for me, no resolutions, just mini virtual vacations to Tahiti (if only for a moment), rather than allowing the multi-task focused mind to jump by leaps and bounds. Focusing on one task cannot be all that boring!
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