Multitasking is the millennial way of life. With all the information in the world available instantly at the touch of a button (well, screen), the modern mind is being conditioned to process lots of tasks at once.
This may sound like a productivity nerd’s dream come true, but there is plenty of evidence that multitasking is a false economy. Those classified by Stanford University researchers to be heavy multitaskers were found to have poor memories and to be unable to resist distractions, to the detriment of their work.
Management guru Charles Handy sums it up nicely: ‘If you’re not careful, multitasking means you don’t do anything very well. If you switch from this task to that, half your mind is still on the task you left behind.’
Of course, there’s always been a trade off between quality and speed. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to concentrate on one thing at a time either, especially when others are demanding your attention right now.
But while the clamour may be for getting work done now rather than done well, it’s perhaps short-sighted to make speed your professional USP.
In the future, we’re also going to be increasingly competing with machines, which will always be better at spinning plates than humans are. Creativity, deep thought and good judgment are the areas where humans stand the best chance in that job market, and none of these are helped by the intense distractions of multitasking.
Multitasking – good or bad?
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