Whether or not multitasking is a good or bad thing seems to be a common debate. Some think you aren’t “multitasking,” you are merely just switching tasks. While others believe they are balancing multiple tasks at once. But, multitasking at work means you are trying to do two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time. Each task requires a high level of thinking and concentration, it’s not simply like listening to music while checking social media. Either way, is multitasking beneficial? Read more to find out.
Multi-Tasking Versus Concentrating on one Task
Many studies have been conducted surrounding the issue of multitasking. For example, one study found that multitasking is good for you. In the research, they studied those who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease who were riding exercise bikes while doing cognitive tasks. The conclusion of the study found that by combining the two, it had a positive effect on the participant’s cognitive performance. However, other researchers argue that the brain can’t fully focus on two things at once.
It may be assumed that if you are doing two things at once, you are not doing each of them to your best ability. This is one of the downsides to multi-tasking. Although you may be killing two birds with one stone, you probably aren’t giving each task 100% of your effort.
Habits Play a Role
Of course, everyone is different. For those who routinely multitask things like talking on the phone while opening mail, it’s probably a pretty easy thing and they are pretty good at focusing on both. If you are looking to enhance your multitasking efforts, start off with two fairly easy tasks and combine them. Then, work your way up. The bottom line? Multitasking may not be as effective as you think it is. Many have found that multitasking causes more errors or longer time to complete a task.
Major General (Retired) Mike Diamond is CEO and founder of Diamond Strategy Group. Diamond Strategy Group is a leadership development and consulting company. We focus on improving the quality of leadership within organizations by utilizing the same methods Mike and his consultants have used in both the military and civilian sectors.
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