The ability to engage oneself in two or more activities simultaneously may seem like an efficiency breakthrough. However, there are a lot of facts surrounding multitasking with respect to productivity decline, and this piece aims at exploring these discoveries.
What it entails
Imagine this. You’re sitting at your desk with some food on a plate to the left of you. There’s an unlocked phone in front of you, and several open tabs on the screen. Unless you’re using the laptop for leisure at this moment, there’s hardly any way you will get any work done. It’s because you’re multitasking. Food, on the one hand, a laptop and a mobile phone on the other.
Now, as effective as this may seem (satisfying hunger and working simultaneously), it may take a more extended period to complete either activity. That’s because of the amount of time spent in switching between these two tasks. This time may double depending on the familiarity of the tasks with the worker. There’s a lot of research on multitasking’s effect on productivity. It was found that when switching from one activity to the other, one has to turn off a set of cognitive rules to make room for another. By so doing this, it increases the amount of time spent to complete either activity. In the meantime, it makes each task seem more complicated than it would be if one were working on them individually.
Researchers also found that individuals who love to multitask have a low attention span and could even hinder certain brain functions. While this may sound extreme, it is important to note that multitaskers constantly alternate between their cognitive abilities from task to task. In essence, to answer the thesis, yes, multitasking is bad for productivity. It makes you slow, easily distracted, and less focused on either activity.
There are a lot of people who feel they can perform two or more tasks at the same time, simultaneously. But the truth is neither of these tasks will receive the amount of precision nor attention they require. It’s safe to say that multitasking hinders productivity.