By Fast Company and Gina Trapani
BeeOasis Step 5
A human’s ability to do several things at once, it’s a wonder of biology. It means we can eat a burrito while we walk down the street and listen to music and daydream about the weekend, all at the same time. But some kinds of multitasking costs us more time than we save. Doing two things at once like singing while you’re taking a shower is not the same as instant messaging while you’re writing a research report.
Don’t fool yourself in the thinking you’re actually having a conversation while you write. You’re switching your attention back and forth between two tasks quickly. You’re juggling. And when you juggle tasks, your work suffers, and it takes longer because switching tasks takes time.
When your brain switches from one task to another, it takes up a whole new train of thought, and you lose any momentum you had on the first task, which costs on the next switch. In an office or on the internet where distractions abound, switching tasks so often can cost hours. A recent study showed that employees who were interrupted while working on a task can take up to 25 minutes to get back to the thing that they started.
You got work that requires your full attention like researching, writing, or number crunching. Stop juggling and start single-tasking. For example, if you got emails coming in, but you’ve got to get together these slides for the presentation. Shut down your email client. Finish the slides first. Then attend to the email. You’ll get the job done a lot faster than the juggler who switches between the slides and the email constantly.
You already know that certain kinds of multitasking is hazardous to your health, like texting while driving or blow drying your hair while you’re in the bath. When you’re splitting your attention between two tasks, remember the difference between multitasking and juggling. When you have the choice, stop juggling, and get your work done faster, one at a time.
This short talk was presented by Fast Company and Gina Trapani on Youtube. Gina Trapani is the author of Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better. Tracking functions on this site are a separate service of BeeOasis.com.