We live in a data rich, tactile rich, visual rich, audio rich environment that never stops. We are rewarded, or so it seems for multitasking at work and in our lives. And every gadget seems to give us the sense of improved productivity while multitasking. Our brains apparently cannot focus on two let alone three things at a time. Focus switching is an appropriate term to use when we think of multitasking. Our brain acts very much like wifi in this regard. Wifi quickly switches between multiple connections to serve each computer, phone, tablet, etc. It switches so quickly and so fluidly that you would never know. But, each unit does have a limit and the demand will slow down the connections for all. Much like our Wifi, when we divide our attention we don’t do any of them well.
- Health Risks
Believe it or not, studies have shown that multitasking leads to deterioration of memory and possibly Alzheimer’s. Live in the moment! Focus on each task and apparently your memory will improve!
- Social Risks
My wife says I multitask, constantly. That is not far from the truth, even if a little bit of an exaggeration. But, multitasking in public also has risks to your health. Stop reading email and walk across the street. Stay in one piece.
- Work Risks
How often have you been in a meeting or on a conference call and you are answering an email question at the same time. Do we really have to answer every email while in another meeting? Have you ever been caught by a question while you clearly were not focused?
But, one much more important rule is to give members of your team full attention. When a member of your team seeks your help, stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention. Never say “ I’m listening, while you continue to type away.” Give them the respect they deserve. Or risk losing their respect.
Given all of this information, is there any possible way to get away from Multitasking?