Is multi-tasking really a benefit?

Due to some research done about multi-tasking, we’ve found that it has some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages: You think you complete your work quicker when you do a certain thing at the same time while focusing on something different. The ability to switch between different projects can also stimulate our creativity. Most employers are looking for that type of quality in employees since they can focus on several things at the same time.

Disadvantages: Multi-tasking can be a risk in some ways.

The human brain is just like a computer. When you open too many applications, it takes longer to run the programs and it cannot work smoothly. The Cingulate cortex in the brain controls cognitive behaviours and emotions. Cramming your brain with multiple tasks all at once will eventually slow down its cognitive process.

When multi-tasking, your brain becomes less focused and more tired; not all your attention is focused on the main task that it should be focused on.

Your mind never reaches relaxation mode as it is not used to being a slow multi-tasker, but it is used to being a high multitasker which can cause damage to your brain.

Distraction is another disadvantage of a high multi-tasker, this is when one can’t focus on one thing at once but has the habit of switching between tasks, anything can and will distract them. Addictively checking your cell-phone is a typical symptom!

If an employee keeps jumping back and forth between two projects, they will take more time finishing them, compared to when they focus on just one task at hand and then move on to another. Each activity requires a specific attention span that cannot be fully accomplished when multi-tasking.

This reminds me of my Manager at work who is a high multi-tasker. She multi-tasks as if she was born to do a million things at a time, however she manages it well.

So, join the research and monitor your performance and brain fatigue when you:

  1. tackle one task at a time,
  2. put your in-coming email and message notifications on silent and only check them every 15-30 minutes, and
  3. try to complete a task before starting the next.