Multitasking, also known as the ability, to handle tasks simultaneously or switch quickly between tasks can have a negative impact, on productivity depending on how it is managed. While true multitasking (performing tasks at the same time) often leads to inefficiency task switching can be beneficial if handled properly. Here are some techniques and tips to enhance your skills.
1. Set Task Priorities.
Before you start determining the importance of each task. Begin with high priority tasks. Tackle them one by one.
2. Group Similar Tasks;
Combine tasks together to reduce the strain of constantly switching between completely different types of activities.
3. Try the Pomodoro Technique;
Work for 25 minutes straight. Then take a 5 minute break. This method can help maintain focus and energy levels.
4. Minimise Interruptions;
Find an environment silence your phone or use apps like “Focus@Will” to minimise distractions.
5. One Screen for One Task;
When working on a computer try to have the tabs and applications open, for your current task.
6.Assign Specific Time Slots;
Times, during the day for different tasks. For instance you can schedule email checking at 9 am, noon and 4 pm.
7. Use Technology Wisely;
Make use of apps and tools that aid in organising and managing your tasks effectively such as Trello, Asana or Toodis.
8. Delegate Responsibilities.
If there are tasks that can be handled by someone or don’t necessitate your expertise delegate them accordingly.
9. Maintain an Organised Environment;
Keep your workspace tidy and free of clutter to ensure a mindset while working.
10. Practice Mindfulness;
Stay fully present in the task at hand when juggling responsibilities. This practice can enhance efficiency and the quality of your work.
Keep in mind that while multitasking can sometimes boost productivity it’s not always the strategy for every task or individual. Research indicates that multitasking can actually decrease productivity by, up to 40%. Therefore finding a balance that works for you is crucial—ensuring that you maintain quality work without sacrificing efficiency.
Importance of Multitasking
Multitasking refers to the ability to handle tasks simultaneously. It can be as simple, as enjoying music while preparing a meal or as complex as managing projects, at work. The significance and impact of multitasking are broad. Can have both negative aspects. Let’s take a look.
1.Potential Decline, in Quality.
The quality of work may suffer due to the attention required for multitasking.
2. Cognitive Overload;
When we try to juggle tasks our brains can become overwhelmed resulting in errors, forgetfulness and increased stress levels.
3. Diminished Focus;
Multitasking can undermine our ability to deeply focus or get into a state of flow which’s essential, for tasks that require thinking or creativity.
4. Efficiency Loss;
Despite what some may believe multitasking can actually decrease efficiency. This is particularly true when tasks demand resources or when we frequently switch between them (known as task switching).
5. Heightened Chance of Errors;
Dividing our attention among tasks increases the likelihood of making mistakes. Simple errors can occur when we juggle responsibilities leading to time spent on corrections.
Consistently attempting to manage tasks simultaneously can result in exhaustion and burnout.
Some individuals may have multitasking abilities, then others. However, various studies indicate that even those who perceive themselves as multitaskers may not be as efficient as they believe.
The Fallacy of Efficient Multitasking;
While many people believe they can effectively handle tasks simultaneously the human brain tends to shift its focus from one task to another of processing them concurrently. This constant switching can consume resources than anticipated.
In summary although there are situations where multitasking can be advantageous it is crucial to acknowledge the drawbacks. In cases an effective approach might involve consciously switching between tasks or adopting a “single tasking” mindset, where dedicating deep concentration to one task at a time can yield superior outcomes.
David Alssema is a Body Language Expert and Motivational Speaker. As a performer in the personal development industry in Australia he has introduced and created new ways to inspire, motivate and develop individuals.
David Alssema started his training career with companies such as Telstra and Optus Communications, and then developed Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) within workplace training as principal of Paramount Training & Development.
As an author/media consultant on body language and professional development David has influenced workplaces across Australia. He contributes to Media such as The West Australian, ABC Radio, Australian Magazines and other Australia Media Sources.