So – it turns out that I missed a few studies that have found that multi-tasking is actually counter-productive. I always thought that being able to do multple things at once lead to more productivity – but after I posted the link to Jarina’s article, I got some links sent to me about how multi-tasking actually leads to less productivity.
From 43 Things a quote from the NY Times:
In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse news, sports or entertainment Web sites.
From Overcoming Laziness:
You see, humans are terrible at doing more than one thing at a time, even though most of us think we're good at it. But when we multitask, two things happen:
1. We get less done.
2. The quality of what we do is lower.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Multitasking, a term cribbed from computers, is an information age creed that, while almost universally sworn by, is more rooted in blind faith than fact. It’s the wellspring of office gaffes, as well as the stock answer to how we do more with less when in fact we’re usually doing less with more. What now passes for multitasking was once called not paying attention.
So… I guess the fact that I’m a habitual multi-tasker means that I’m not really paying attention… I’m not sure how to respond. I feel like I’m productive – people are always surprised that I can manage as much as I can – so is what I’m doing something other than traditional multi-tasking?
Something to think about as I write this post and watch Law & Order … which I’m going to give my attention to now 🙂