The Myth of Multitasking

multitasking_article Everything in our get-it-done yesterday culture seems to demand a mastery of multitasking. In the age of the smartphone, you’re never without access to a phone, e-mail, social media networks and news headlines. At any given moment, you might have half a dozen or more windows open on your computer competing for your time and attention. A few minutes waiting at a red light becomes an opportunity to check voicemail and return a missed call from a client while simultaneously reviewing the agenda for your next meeting.

But no matter how much you think being able to maintain a constant juggling act of tasks is going to help you get ahead, in truth, it might very well be what’s holding you back.

Success is not about how many things you can do at once; it's about consistently turning out your best quality work as efficiently as possible. In fact, multitasking is actually a very inefficient time management strategy that can seriously compromise your performance.


Although our society might be wired for multitasking, our brains are not.

Although our society might be wired for multitasking, our brains are not. Trying to work on several things at once compromises your brain's ability to function at maximum capacity. Each time you shift your focus from one task to another, you risk losing information from your short-term memory. In the end, you might end up putting in more hours, not less, and producing lower quality work.

Multitasking is fine for simple, low-brain-power chores like checking your e-mail while waiting in line at the grocery store or walking the dog while talking to your mother on the phone. But for complex work-related duties, you should be focused squarely on the task at-hand, not trying to perform a mental balancing act at all times.

If you really want to boost your productivity, start by organizing your day into blocks of time where you focus on accomplishing one specific job from beginning to end.

Learn to excel at single-tasking and get more done in less time.

If you are working on projects that span more than one day, break them into clearly defined phases and set milestones for yourself. Each time you set one project aside and move on to the next, take just a minute to leave yourself a brief note about where you left off and what your next step should be. This will help jog your memory the next time you resume work on that job, and you can get rolling right away.

By learning to excel at single-tasking, you'll reap very real rewards: getting more done in less time, with quality and attention to detail that speaks for itself.