Multitasking: lifesaver or necessary evil?

In today’s world, doing one thing at a time is a great luxury. Imagine a situation: you start your working day by checking a dozen of emails and writing your docs then you switch to reviewing your colleague’s topics while preparing for an interview with your SME. Sounds familiar? Sure. We, information developers, have already got used to such a pace. To deliver the best results and ensure customers satisfaction, quite often, we have to be Julius Caesar, who was believed to be capable of writing, reading and giving orders simultaneously. But is it really a productive way of fulfilling our tasks?

Scientists claim that the majority of people are not as good at multitasking as they think they are. In fact, the ability to be engaged in different activities is a rare gift since our brain is simply not designed to focus on various things simultaneously. We just toggle between the tasks in a fraction of a second hence it seems we multitask. Such shift of our focus causes a lot of stress and anxiety, as a result, our attention is scattered, our concentration suffers, and the workload keeps piling up. Not to mention a number of errors we make when being constantly distracted from the main issue.

However, multitasking is still possible (it should be practiced only when necessary, though). When the one action is brought to automatism and does not require much mental effort, we could carry it out together with another one. It explains the fact that, for example, a guitarist can play a tune when singing a song. But don’t get too optimistic and let yourself trick into illusion of hard work by taking on numerous tasks without producing a real result. Instead, let me lay down some pointers for you on how to perform better in our busy environment and to handle the stress of multitasking.


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