Do you believe multitasking is a valuable skill that benefits productivity in the workplace? If you do, you're not alone; however, research shows that this thinking is flawed.
Most of us couldn't imagine life without multitasking, especially when it comes to workplace productivity. I will demonstrate how removing multitasking will increase your team's overall productivity.
Did you know that multitasking hurts our brain?
Numerous studies indicate that multitasking negatively affects our brains. When our brain multitasks, which is also known as "task switching," it uses more mental energy than it takes to keep our focus on what we are doing. Substantial research conducted on multitasking skills in computer software development concluded the more multitasking practised, the less productivity occurs. Basically, if you switch back and forth between two projects, you waste 20% of your time, and as you add in projects, the loss of time increases. If you are working on five projects simultaneously, the loss of time from switching back and forth is an astonishing 75%. (Source 1)
Do you want your team to practice a skill that wastes time?
Multitasking is a skill that divides our focus, exhausting us, and places a great deal of stress on our entire body, including our minds. Our lives become more stressful when we concentrate on more than one thing at a time. When we focus on numerous things at once, we're not mindful of what's happening now, and we miss many important details surrounding us.
Do your employees think multitasking is an essential job component?
Recently, while facilitating a leadership workshop, I heard from numerous participants that one of their most significant work challenges was multitasking. They shared how stressful and unproductive they found their jobs due to constant multitasking. When I asked if any shared this concern with their managers, several replied that multitasking was a job skill imposed by management.
How you can boost productivity by eliminating multitasking within the workplace:
- Set the stage by encouraging your team to reduce all distractions before they begin their task.
- Share the workflow, workload and prioritize the tasks with team members.
- Check-in with your team skill's to ensure they are managing their workload effectively and efficiently.
- Ensure team members schedule breaks in between tasks or work sessions.
Encourage your team to avoid multitasking within the workplace. It's natural to become distracted; the key is to train your brain to work on one task at a time when possible. When your thoughts wander, bring them back to the task at hand to enhance skill development in the workplace.
Our quality-of-life increases significantly, and our productivity when we reduce multitasking and focus on one job at a time.
Source1 - Weinberg, Gerald M. Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking. Dorset House. P284 (New York: Dorset House, 1999