Is multi-tasking counter-productive in the modern workplace?
Office Chairs UK, 23/08/2016
Although we might not be aware of it, many of us are multi-tasking every day at work. We often have a number of different tasks and projects that we are working on at the same time. That’s without constantly checking Facebook and social media for updates in between tasks. Many of us often think that multi-tasking is a good skill to have and it means that we can get more things done, but is this actually the case? There has been the suggestion that multi-tasking is actually counter-productive in the modern work environment.
Why is it bad?
Multi-tasking can actually have a negative impact on your work schedule and make you less productive. There have been many studies that suggest that multi-tasking isn’t efficient and could actually make you slower. This is because the brain takes longer to process new tasks, making switching from one to the other counter-productive. You are more likely to be distracted while multi-tasking as you are not devoting your full attention to any one topic. This means that you are also more likely to make mistakes in your work with things, such as sending an email to the wrong person or getting confused between projects.
Are there more distractions?
With the continued growth of social media and the use of smartphones, there is an ever-increasing number of distractions in modern life. This isn't just limited to our reliance on our phones because the modern workload is often varied and includes a range of different tasks to undertake. We are often switching from one task to another in the hope that we can complete them quicker. This can even seem mandatory if you work with social media or in the digital sphere, but it is important that we try to avoid distractions and focus on the task at hand, rather than trying to juggle several things at once.
How to avoid distractions
There are a number of ways that you can avoid multi-tasking and be more effective in your working day. Although it can be difficult to avoid distractions, we have some top tips to help you stay more focused on the task at hand.
1) Plan your week in advance so that you have a proper schedule to follow. Although many of us will already plan their week ahead and make sure they know what they’re doing, it is often a flexible calendar and less important things get pushed back. Make a plan and stick to it. Try not to "prioritise" things where possible and work through each task as planned.
2) Don’t spend too long on emails every day. If there are emails or calls that need action, then try your best to schedule these instead of doing them immediately. Unless it is something that needs urgent action, plan it for later in the day, week or even month, so that you don’t get distracted from the work that you are currently doing.
3) Make sure that you still take breaks away from your desk. This is important as many people still spend several hours each day sat at their desk. Taking on more and more tasks, means you are even less likely to take five. Get away from your desk at regular intervals to have a break and increase circulation with some exercises. This can actually make you more focused when you get back to work.
4) Having the right furniture can also be important in this process as an uncomfortable chair, or a desk that isn’t big enough can lead to you becoming increasingly uncomfortable, restless and subconsciously feel the need to switch your focus.
By following these simple tips you can avoid multi-tasking and actually get things completed quicker than you ever did before.