In the business world, where time management is always a priority, multitasking skills are expected, especially in younger workers reared in multiple media environments (i.e., computers, iPods, iPhones, TV, video games, online social sites, texting and instant messaging).
Beginning in 2005, however, studies began to show that distractions negatively affected productivity and efficiency. A study funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that “workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.”
A second study found that it took an average of 25 minutes for workers to recover from interruptions (phone calls, emails) and return to their original tasks.
On expert estimates that extreme multitasking and information overload cost the U.S. economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity.
The brain doesn’t handle more than one problem well. While we can certainly walk and chew gum at the same time, we cannot pay attention to multiple challenges. Instead, the brain must switch tasks, using up time and energy. And when task-switching is poorly executed, we waste time and make mistakes.
All the research in the world won’t discourage us from juggling more than one ball. So, if we’re going to multitask, how can we do it effectively?
This article gives 10 tips for getting more done.
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- The Art of Paying Attention
- Smart Multitasking
- 10 Tips for Getting More Done
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