Monday, June 6, 2011

Myth of Multitask and why your boss is not always right.

Source : Myth of multitasking by Dave Crenshaw

Why you should care about NOT to multitask and prove your boss is wrong !

  1. A recent Harvard Business Review post says that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ.
  2. John Medina, author of Brain Rules and a molecular biologist who specializes in brain development. That is, you make three times more errors on a project when interrupted and it takes you four times longer to complete a task when interrupted.
  3. Most of us would not consider smoking marijuana while we work, but recent research has shown that multitasking at work causes a drop in your IQ more than twice that found when smoking marijuana.
  4. The IQ drop when multitasking is also equivalent to losing an entire night's sleep.
  5. Research shows that the average multitasker loses up to 28% of the workday to interruptions.
  6. Josh Waitzkin, a chess and martial arts world champion and author of The Art of Learning wrote that multitasking is equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours—more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.
  7. Don’t get distracted by anything else, because it can take the brain 20 minutes to do the equivalent of rebooting after an interruption

The myth of multitasking and the myth that management still believe in
If you want to ride 2 horses at once, then you should be in circus. Not in corporate management.
Multitasking is an act that conveys a single, crirical idea: to do two things at once is to do neither. When most refer to multitasking, they are really talking about switchtasking. No matter how they do it, switching rapidly between two things is just NOT very efficient or effective.

The great irony of multitasking that its overall aim, getting more done in less time, turns out to be fantasy. The fact is that multitasking slows down our thinking. A brain attempting to perform two tasks simultananeously, going back to and forth stress, exhibit a substantial lag in information processing.

Multitasking-or switchtasking-make us less productive,costs us time and generally leads to the feeling we'll never catch  up.
A weakness of all human beings is trying to do so many things at once-Henry Ford
Background Tasking – Killing 2 Birds With One Stone

Allow me to state few points here. When I speak of multitasking as most people understand it, I am not referring to doing something completely mindless and mundane in the background such as exercising while listening to a CD, eating dinner and watching a show, or having the copy machine operate in the background while you answer emails. For clarity’s sake, I call this “background tasking".

Switchtasking – A Neurological Meltdown

When most people or corporate refer to multitasking they mean simultaneously performing 2 or more things that require mental effort and attention. Examples would include saying we’re spending time with family while were researching stocks online, attempting to listen to a CD and answering email at the same time, or pretending to listen to an employee while we are crunching the numbers. What most people refer to as multitasking, I refer to as “switchtasking.” Why?

Because the truth is we really cannot do two things at the same time—we are only one person with only one brain. Neurologically speaking, it has been proven to be impossible. What we are really doing is switching back and forth between two tasks rapidly, typing here, paying attention there, checking our “crackberry” here, answering voicemail there back and forth back and forth at a high rate.

 Keep this up over a long period of time, and you have deeply ingrained habits that cause stress and anxiety and dropped responsibilities and a myriad of produc ivity & focus problems. It’s little wonder so many people complain of increasingly short attention.In this age, hurry, bustle and agitation is part of our chapters of life- so much so we have embraced a word to describe our efforts to respond to many demands on our time : MULTITASKING.

Used for decades to describe the parallel processing abilities of computers, multitasking is now shorthand for the human attempt to do simultaneously as many things as possible, as quickly as possible, preferably marshalling the power of as many technologies as possible.
In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found,Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.” The psychologist who led the study called this new “infomania” a serious threat to workplace productivity.

When we talk about multitasking, we are really talking about attention: the art of paying attention, the ability to shift our attention, and, more broadly, to exercise judgment about what objects are worthy of our attention. People who have achieved great things often credit for their success a finely honed skill for paying attention. When asked about his particular genius,

Isaac Newton responded that if he had made any discoveries, it was “owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.”
Our Focus - where we direct it and how long we keep it there-is one of few things under our control. Isn't it time we stop sabotaging ourself?

Multitasking is single best thing to screw up both jobs.