The Cult of Multi-Tasking
Hi my name is Tom, and I am a multi-tasker.
Far too often I am so busy checking my email, writing a message, answering a text, writing down an idea (possibly at the same time) that I miss the person standing right in front of me. Sometimes I think this is part of the way God has wired me while at other times I realise I’ve been seduced by words like “quick” and “efficient.”
Sometimes I think I’m addicted to “being productive” and forget to simply “be”.
I know I have spoken about this topic many times before, but I really believe it is a major problem in our culture today – a problem that stresses us out and destroys relationships.
Turns out in fact, that not only does it mess with our sense of well-being, but it also kills productivity. There is loads of scientific data out there now that proves this, and shows that multi-tasking is really not the best strategy for effectiveness.
In an interesting article and study entitled “The Cult of Multitasking”, it was found that the average employee loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions, and that each day a typical office employee checks e-mail 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times. It goes on to say…
The cult of multitasking would have us believe that compulsive message-checking is the behavior of an always-on, hyper-productive worker. But it’s not. It’s the sign of a distracted employee who misguidedly believes he can do multiple tasks at one time. Science disagrees. People may be able to chew gum and walk at the same time, but they can’t do two or more thinking tasks simultaneously.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that productivity dropped as much as 40 percent when subjects tried to do two or more things at once. The switching exacts other costs, too — mistakes and burnout. One of the study’s authors, David Meyer, asserts bluntly that quality work and multitasking are incompatible.