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Why multitasking is killing efficiency

 

Many people including leaders think that multitasking is highly efficient and a lot of leaders often demand their employees to be “dynamic” meaning, having a lot of tasks going on simultaneously. It certainly looks like efficiency but the fact is quite the opposite.

The brain is fast when it comes to detail but swapping from one project to another takes time. On average it takes 15-20 minutes to switch tasks so if you are multitasking 8 projects simultaneously you are actually wasting 2 to 3 hours. Take that!

Close your door. Turn off the phone. Shut down your mail, IM, Skype and everything else that distract you. When you have done this and you are ready for work then use 1 or 2 hours doing the things that has the highest priority and work concentrated on one thing at a time. Do the most important things first when you still have lots of energy. This is called FOCUS!

Then take a lunch break and after that you can check your mail and your phone, be social and recharge.

The mind works like a monkey. Jumping from tree to tree looking for food. And in the end you can’t even remember where you started. The mind works fast. Much faster than the body. When you are working on one task the mind is already trying to figure out the next task. And suddenly you are not present any longer. You are working but the mind is elsewhere. The mind loves jumping from thought to thought. Take a 15 minute break, find a chair, sit down and just watch the mind doing whatever it wants to do. If you have to work the way the mind works you are jumping from one task to another and back again and this is a huge source of stress and a great way to NOT be aware of what you really are doing to yourself.

Maybe it is not possible to serialize your work totally but most likely it is somewhat possible. Working on one task at a time and FINISHING this one task, gives you a much stronger focus, much less stress and a stronger sense of being productive. It is a huge misconception trying to make yourself  believe that multitasking is highly effective. Admitted – it LOOKS great and you look busy and engaged when you are working on ten different tasks at the same time or at least ten different tasks within one hour.

The simple thing here is to wake up and stop doing what you have always done. At least if you want better results, higher efficiency and more quality in your job and in your life. Wake up, look at your situation, Evaluate, experiment and be more aware. Are you controlling your mind or are you being controlled by it? Who is the Master?

More interesting articles on Multitasking:

http://lateralaction.com/articles/multitasking/

http://lifehacker.com/5041144/debunking-the-myth-of-multitasking

And a video:

The Myth of Multitasking