The Myth of Multitasking

last updated: 19 October 2018 (approximate reading time: 2 minutes; 260 words)

There’s a notion about multitasking—it’s touted as a route to efficiency and greater productivity. In reality, it’s one of the most counter-productive approaches to working.

Now sure, you can walk and chew gum at the same time, but trying to do anything that involves intellectual rigor requires focus.

The root of the problem and the reason multitasking doesn’t work is quite simple:

  • First, you’re not devoting your full brainpower to any one task.
  • Second, you require an element of brainpower to manage the parallel threads—in other words, that element of your brain that is being applied to the tasks is less than 100%.

What Do Other People Say?

This isn’t just my opinion. You can read more:

There are studies—these studies show that if you try to multitask, instead of getting better at multitasking over time, you get stupider over time.

What’s the Better Approach?

There is a better approach and one that won’t make you more stupid: Sequencing.

Do one thing; devote your entire brain capacity. Complete that one thing, then move on to the next one thing. Do that next one thing; devote your entire brain capacity. Complete that next one thing, then move on to another one thing to which you devote your entire brain capacity.

If you need to stop, then stop. But either devote all your energy or none of your energy to a task. Don’t try to do two or more task and do them all badly.

In short, do one thing, and do it well.

Filed under

Category: writing
Tags: time management   multitasking