Do you feel pulled in 100 different directions each day? I do. Even as I sit down to write this post, my email notifications are popping, my calendar is beeping to remind me of an upcoming meeting and I’m working on a strategy document for a client. No matter what your role, experience or responsibilities, in a consistently busy culture such as ours, we feel the need to be on top of everything, all at once. This pressure often leads to multitasking.
Multitasking – Why It Doesn’t Work
A recent HuffPost article made me press pause for a moment on all my tasks. Ironically, its title, “Multitasking Doesn’t Work,” caught my eye and got me thinking about my own multitasking tendencies. In the piece, consultant Rudy Vidal shares three reasons why, despite our common belief that it’s the best way to get things done, multitasking doesn’t work.
- It’s because we aren’t wired to do so. Switching from one task to another, to another and another, means we end up reducing the brainpower we’re devoting to each separate thing, leading to impaired focus.
- While multitasking may make us all look like we’re performing at the highest level, it’s completely deceiving. We’re actually better off prioritizing and taking the time to figure out what needs attention first, and then tackling tasks based on their subsequent importance (or impact).
- Reacting to tasks as they come in, and not addressing their “root causes and solving them,” means we don’t ever really get to the bottom of what we’re doing; or worse, we impair our ability to reach our goals. Vidal suggests that despite feeling “uncomfortable and risky, our best work is done when we give our full attention to the one thing that makes the most difference.”
Do you find yourself multitasking on a daily basis? Did you multitask while reading this post? How do you stay focused in this era of constant disruptions and connectivity? I look forward to hearing your feedback!