Jeremy Clarkson once said, “Multitasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” Do you agree?
Multitasking is a demanding skill for most companies as it helps businesses reduce cost of additional hiring and training when they find candidates with great multitasking ability. As cited in Management Study Guide, employees with multitasking abilities are capable of performing many duties without further training. Owing to this reason, companies do not need to invest so much in hiring and training new individuals.
See also: Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
While at some point multitasking is considered as a needed ability by many businesses, rushing through deadlines and juggling between tasks is not a good habit. Why? Because various studies suggested that the ability of multitasking is killing productivity as well as leading to brain drain or lesser work quality. Researchers noted that when you do tasks at one time continuously, your brain will have so much burden when tasks become more complex. Thusly, multitasking can inhibit overall efficiency, creates shorter attention spans, and even hinders brain functions.
Nonetheless, is there any way to do multitasking without risking ourselves?
The short answer is yes. You can actually do multiple tasks at one time while being stress-free and productive. The secret is by doing your job with an extreme focus. Check out other useful tips below.
Switch focus and work effectively – Neurosciences claimed that human’s brain cannot process multiple tasks at once. It is explained that instead of multitasking, we are actually doing constant task switching which is repeatedly fast. We are just better at switching between tasks at high speed and not do multiple tasks at one time. So, to improve productivity while being “a multi-switcher’, you can do better by allowing your brain to switch focus and do your work effectively for a period of time.
Schedule your switches – Indeed, multitasking can help us to be more creative. A working paper on Columbia Business School found that switching between tasks can promote creative problem solving while working on one task for too long can drain our attention and reduce our cognitive fixation. But switching from task to task without a plan might have the same impact. Therefore, it is better to schedule a time when you want to do one task and another task.
Routine and sequencing are keys – Our ability to ‘multi-switching’ can be improved by practising. For example, you put similar activities between writing, responding to email, and typing out a media release. You, unconsciously, do these jobs simultaneously and continuously. Your little concern about switching from one job to another will improve your concentration and ability, making it easier for you to do everything at the same time. Therefore, you can do your tasks with routine and become a better multi-switcher.
Simplify your job – The key to productivity is mindfulness and focus. Therefore, if you want to be able to do multiple tasks at once, you should be able to simplify your tasks. Reduce your workload or make a list of things which are urgently needed to be finished. As you try to simplify the matter of your jobs, your mind will function better. Thusly, you can be a successful multi-tasker.
“When we think we are multitasking, we are actually multi-switching. That is what the brain is very good at doing quickly diverting its attention from one place to the next. We think we are being productive. We are, indeed, being busy. But in reality, we are simply giving ourselves extra work.” – Michael Harris