Is Multi-tasking Really Productive?

Multi-tasking seems like a noteworthy skill to have when we are bombarded with emails, calls and to-do lists everyday, but is it really that beneficial and productive?

In a study (link: conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry for Hewlett Packard a few years ago, they found that employees distracted by incoming email and phone calls had a 10-point fall in their IQ. That’s more than twice the drop studies found in the impact of smoking marijuana! The study notes that those constantly reacting to new emails or text messages immediately “suffer similar effects on the mind as losing a night’s sleep.”

If you think about it, it makes sense. When you see a new email come in your inbox or your task is interrupted by a phone call, your mind switches gears and you stop your train of thought. Multi-tasking affects our attention spans and the ability to finish projects efficiently, which doesn’t impact our businesses positively.

So how can we stop multi-tasking and be more productive? Try not to multi-task for a day and see what happens. Give your full attention in meetings. Finish one project before you start on the next. Write down a task that comes to mind instead of immediately acting on the thought. What is the result? Do you see a positive change in your stress, patience and productivity levels?

What do you think about multi-tasking? Are we kidding ourselves when we say we’re “good” at multi-tasking?

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