Multi-Tasking: To Do or Not to Do?
Multi-tasking is a highly debated topic that has been around for decades. Many authors have written books trying to “bust” the multi-tasking myth, while others believe that multi-tasking can be useful in certain situations. The truth lies somewhere in between these two polarized opinions. Multi-tasking can be a useful tool to make the most out of your time. However, it is essential to determine when and how to multi-task to achieve positive results.
Limit Multi-Tasking to Two Activities
If you decide to multi-task, limit yourself to two activities only. Doing more than two tasks at once is not practical and can reduce the effectiveness of each task. The human mind can only perform two tasks adequately without impacting the quality of either. Trying to cook, talk on the phone and read a book simultaneously is not practical. Therefore, it is best to focus on two tasks to achieve desired results.
Levels of Concentration
To multi-task effectively, one of the tasks should be an activity that you can do on autopilot, such as washing the dishes, while the other one requires concentration. There are different levels of concentration, and you can only multi-task if the task requiring concentration allows you to focus on incoming information, such as listening to an audiobook while washing dishes. If the task involves generating output, such as writing an article or developing a strategic plan, it needs your total concentration to achieve desirable results.
Multi-Tasking is a Procrastination Tool
The best reason to say no to multi-tasking is that it can be a procrastination tool. It is easy to do low-resistance tasks than tackle high-yield tasks that require complete focus and concentration. Multi-tasking can trick you into thinking you are making progress when, in reality, you are simply avoiding tackling more critical tasks. Therefore, avoid multi-tasking if you find yourself using it as a tool to procrastinate.
One Question to Rule Them All
Instead of overcomplicating things, it is best to ask yourself a simple question to determine if multi-tasking is appropriate. The question is, “Can I give both activities the attention they deserve and perform adequately?” The answer should be in the negative if giving one activity the attention it deserves will affect the outcome of the other.
Multi-tasking is a tool that can be useful when used appropriately. However, limiting multi-tasking to two activities and using it as a tool to procrastinate can affect your productivity. Understanding when and how to multi-task will positively impact your productivity while avoiding the pitfalls that come with using multi-tasking as a procrastination tool.