Does Multitasking Really Work?


Do you believe that multitasking is only for computers? Or do you think that it is a great skill that must be adopted by everyone? If you believe multitasking is the way to go to maximize efficiency, think again!

Most multitaskers are admired for their efficiency and ability to juggle many tasks at one time and get things done. It may be speaking on the phone, while reading emails and preparing reports, handling too many projects at once at work and on top of that fill in a busy daily social life with family, friends and colleagues. Everyone knows a person like this, that seems to master it all. Even though this person may seem like a star performer in every area and aspect of his or her life, to you perhaps the best evaluation is to check the quality of the task that he or she has completed, or how present the person is in social situations.

So how did the need for multitasking appear? Actually the answer is simple… The day only has 24 hours and every individual has so many things to accomplish in his/her personal and professional life,  which lead to our pace of life to speed up. Everything is expected to be done immediately –information, communication, dining, traveling. It is this pressure in our lives that pushed us try to accomplish more tasks at a time so we could have more time for other things. But in reality tasks take time and once you are multitasking the chances of making mistakes will increase significantly, because you will not pay attention to the details of your work and it may even lower your level of achievement.
Scientists have done experiments on the limits of human multitasking since the 1990’s and the results show multitasking is not as workable as concentrated times, because the brain can not totally focus while multitasking and our brain will be interrupted with many things. This will cause the attention to switch from one thing to another and people will take more time to complete the task and increase the risk of making errors. Another down side is that the specific task and its details will not be as memorable when completed, as it would be if you are truly focused on what you are doing. Let me give you a great example of how it will cause loss of memory. Just picture yourself sitting with a friend in a restaurant, and while you are chatting a waiter approaches the table and interrupts your conversation. After giving your order both you and your friend will have to take time to remember what you were talking about or where were you left off in the conversation. As you see in this example our brain will loose its concentration once it has been interrupted.

I know you might still be a big supporter of multitasking but these were results published by scientists not by me. And don’t get me wrong; I would be a big supporter of multitasking if it such a thing really existed. But it doesn’t… Who wouldn’t want to do everything perfectly, on time and yet still have the rest of the day for yourself and your loved ones. The truth is that multitasking very rarely leads to that ideal scenario,  as not many human beings have the ability to multitask and deliver great results. Time management is an essential skill to master in order to be successful, and if you manage your time well, focus on each detailed task individually and get things done one by one, without letting other things or factors distract your mind; you would be surprised of how much you can get done without juggling five things at a time.