Multitasking at home or in the office has pretty much become an accepted part of life. Many job descriptions even include “ability to multitask” among the requirements for the position, and it’s generally thought of as good and helpful skill.
But a local management consultant says multitasking is not a good thing.
Jodi Daniels says that despite the fact that it has become professionally acceptable to multitask at work, multitasking does not lead to a more effective workforce or product. Even though employers and employees may think that they are getting more work done, work quality suffers because an employee who multitasks essentially is a distracted employee. In fact, Daniels says, the better a person thinks they are at multitasking, the worse they actually are at it.
I have mixed feelings about multitasking but I mostly agree with Daniels. As far as taking on certain tasks at the same time, I have found that regardless of how good I actually am at it (and I’m pretty sure I’m not), I just don’t like it. One of the big ones for me is the phone: that is, talking on the phone while I’m on the computer or checking my phone during face-to-face conversations. I just don’t feel like I can give my attention to both tasks and I don’t like doing it. Plus, we’ve all been in the situation where someone is doing this to us. It’s usually fairly obvious they’re doing it and, depending on the situation, it can get annoying.
But it can be difficult to force yourself to concentrate on one thing at a time, especially if you have a lot to do or if certain things on your to-do list are more routine tasks that don’t necessarily require your full attention.
In some ways I like multitasking. It’s always been easier for me to get things done when I have a lot on my plate. I can move on to another project for a bit if I hit a tough spot in the project I’m working on so I never feel “stuck”, so to speak.
How do you feel about multitasking? Do you have any tips for doing it successfully?