The myth that women can multitask while men can’t is completely rubbish. The truth is everyone can multitask, but no one can do it brilliantly. The more you do it, the more inefficient you are in your tasks. We have been encouraging multitasking without knowing that it has deeper downsides than we think.
Yesterday, I was emailing my client while attending a meeting. Now I really regret that I decided to multitask, considering it as something really time-saving and efficient. Here’s what happened: I was supposed to send a document to one of the clients. I drafted the mail, sent it, without even noticing that I forgot to attach the document. Then, I sent another email, with nothing else but the document that I was supposed to attach. Again, I sent the third email, apologizing and explaining whatever just happened. Plus, I didn’t catch a word that was discussed in the meeting, and when I was asked about my viewpoint, I was completely blank. No, I haven’t been smoking marijuana; I was just multitasking, which proved to be worse than marijuana.
Here is why multitasking is a false economy:
- When you multitask, there is a sense of urgency associated with it, which leads to increased mental stress. And doing it frequently may result in chronic stress.
- The human mind is structured in such a way that it works best when focused on a single thing at a time. When you multitask, your focus is divided between multiple tasks and that leads to poor quality of work or may degrade your ability to focus.
- Once you get habituated to do multiple things at the same time, you enter the vicious cycle of multitasking, which will tempt you to multitask all the time. As a result, even when you do a lot of work, you won’t get the feeling of accomplishing something at the end of the day.
Here is how to stop it:
- Pre-crastinate or start early so that you don’t have to rush into things at last moment.
- Prioritize. (Do I need to explain?)
- Get rid of all the distractions when you are working.
- Manage your workplace or your desk area in such a way that it eliminates most of the distractions.
- Set fire to your phone (Not literally!). Just shut it off when all it does is brings unnecessary distractions.