Multiple browsers opened, email in the middle of writing, messenger with pings from a couple of people, answering a question on call – This is a normal workday for many people. And add social media to this hectic day. Whether we like to do it or not, many of us perform multitasking in a day. Multitasking means doing multiple tasks simultaneously like cooking and reading a book or folding clothes while talking on the phone etc.
At first glance, multitasking looks amazing and like a time saver. Many of us think that multitasking improves our efficiency. We think we become more productive when we multitask. But the truth is different. Research shows us different things than what is popularly thought about multitasking. Research shows that only 2.5% of the human population can do multitasking efficiently. Multitasking is not for everyone, and it is better to do one task at a time than multiple tasks.
Below are some reasons why you should not multitask.
1. Stress causing: Our mind goes through stress when we multitask. Multitasking is like trying to travel on two boats at the same time. It causes an unnecessary burden on our mind and results in an energy drain. When our mind is under stress, we only bother about finishing the task rather than giving our best to the task. Our work quality comes down. And stress brings many issues. Stress makes the body go into flight or fight mode. This mode releases toxins in our body and deteriorates our health. Stress is one of the major factors causing lifestyle diseases.
2. Loss of productivity: We will be able to accomplish a lot of work in less amount of time when we work with intensity and focus. When we focus, we go deeper into the task, and our mind can process the task better. But when we multitask, there will not be a razor-sharp focus on the tasks. Our attention and focus are superficial, and our mind is distracted. This leads to loss of productivity. Research shows that multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity, and this is a huge number.
3. Increased errors: When we are multitasking, all we care about is to finish the task and close it as soon as possible. So, our mind overlooks a lot of things in the process, and this leads to errors like missing attachment or sending the email to the wrong recipients or missing requirements while coding etc. With multitasking, there are higher chances of committing errors. Research found that multitaskers make 50% more errors. Errors are costly because someone else has to work again and fix these errors. It is a rework and causes loss of productivity.
4. Poor quality of work: Great work quality comes when we give our best to the task without any distractions. But when we multitask, we are constantly distracted by various things. Our mind needs to switch between multiple tasks. And this leads to poor quality of work. Poor quality of work brings down our reputation and goodwill.
5. Loss of time: We think we save time when we multitask. But research shows us that multitasking causes loss of time. It takes 50% more time to accomplish a task with multitasking. In a study conducted on Microsoft employees, it was found that employees took, on average, 15 minutes to get back to intense mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to email or instant messages.
6. Impacts brain health negatively: Research found that people who regularly multitask have lower brain density in the region of their brain responsible for empathy, cognitive control, and emotional control. Our brains are not designed for multitasking. They are designed for one task at a time. So, when we force our brain to multitask, it impacts brain health negatively.
7. Loss of creativity: Creativity is an essential aspect of human life. Creativity gives us joy and improves things. It adds value, originality, and newness. It gives us the ability to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for a problem. When we multitask, we lose creativity. Our approach lacks originality, and it becomes monotonous because we are in a rush to complete our tasks.
8. Lowers IQ: Research found that multitasking reduces our IQ by 10%. A University of London study found that multitasking lowers IQ scores as much as if participants had used marijuana or stayed awake all night. So, multitasking makes us less intelligent.
These are some reasons why you should say no to multitasking.
Multitasking makes us look like a superman or superwoman solving many issues at once. It looks fancy and makes us feel important. But in reality, multitasking negatively impacts our productivity, health, IQ, brain health. It leads to unnecessary stress in life and poor quality of work.
Then, how to accomplish a lot in less time? How to be more productive? Below are a few tips.
1. Take one task at a time and give the best to it. When you are working on this one task, give it undivided attention and focus. Work on it as if it’s the only thing you care about at that particular time. This approach brings you satisfaction, better quality output, and increases your creativity. This also boosts your productivity, and you can accomplish a lot in less amount of time.
2. Time box your tasks and, during this time, avoid social media completely. Have 25 minutes of time blocks where you work without any kind of distractions during this time. After 25 minutes of intense activity, take a break for a couple of minutes and relax your mind. Rejuvenate your mind during this break time.
3. Assign separate time for social media instead of checking your social media messages while working on a task.
4. Delegate tasks wherever you can.
5. Club similar tasks and do them together instead of spreading them throughout the day.
6. Plan your time ahead and work in a systematic, planned manner. Avoid ad-hoc tasks as much as possible because these ad-hoc tasks demand multitasking, and they drain your energies and productivity.
These are some tips that help you become super productive. Do one task at a time and enjoy it. Give your best to this one task.