Do you talk on the phone and check your emails at the same time? Do you make two presentations at one go? Are you completing more than one file? Are you on your Blackberry even while driving?
If yes then you are multitasking. Multitasking in simple words is doing too many things at one single time. When most people refer to multitasking they mean simultaneously performing two or more things that require mental effort and attention.
So what happens when you multitask at work?
In today’s competitive life need for multitasking is rising but getting habituated to multitasking at work can show poor effects on your work and also on your health. But what happens when you constantly multitask at work?
You Lose Focus
People, who multitask, often lose their focus. For e.g. you have a meeting in an hour, you are busy making presentation at one end and at other end you are surfing the net. You are continuously switching your focus from presentation to internet resulting in no focus. According to the study of David Meyer, a psychologist at the University of Michigan founded that, constantly switching task makes difficult for brain to concentrate. As a result of loss of focus and attention, tasks are less efficiently performed.
Your Productivity Drops
Researchers at the University of Michigan found a process called executive control, which the brain uses to switch between tasks but due to constant switching and loss of focus, the brain loses speed and accuracy to do the task.
While multitasking there are high chances for your productivity to suffer. You may notice this change yourself when you don’t multi task and do one particular task at one time. The brain’s cerebral cortex can pay attention to only one task at one time but when you multitask you tend to change your focus to and fro from one task to other which results in the poor work quality.
Your Stress Increases
By multitasking you might finish your work and meet your deadlines but if you make multitasking as a regular habit then you need to restructure the way of working. Multitasking can lead to high workload and increase your stress levels, inviting host of health issues.
Our body release hormone called Cortisol during stress. Cortisol is needed to carry out various functions in the body but increased levels of Cortisol can have negative impact on health giving rise to various health issues. Increased cortisol results in high blood pressure, sleep problems, weakening of immune system, imbalances in blood sugar levels etc.
Following below are few tips which can help to avoid multitasking:
- Planning: You may have multiple tasks to perform at the office, multitasking is not the only solution to do all tasks. Planning your tasks at the start of the day will help you in giving your best and also minus your chances of multitasking. Planning will also help in working with full focus and attention, it also helps you to work according to set deadline rather that finishing it in a hurry.
- Prioritize: Prioritizing your task is very essential after planning. You may plan your tasks but what if you don’t prioritize them. If you don’t prioritize your tasks you might spend more time on less important task and might get less time to those which are important. Prioritizing help in giving sufficient time to each task and avoids multitasking. It also keeps you away from workload stress.
- Say no to unwanted things: Minimize the distraction as much as possible while working. Checking mails, fidgeting with mobile phones, surfing the net is not required when you are doing an important task. Doing one task at one time will not only maintain the speed but also the accuracy while performing the task. For e.g. a presentation made in hurry will not only lack focus but will also miss the quality.
- Set deadlines: Every task has a deadline. If not completed on time leads you to complete it hurriedly with some other task. Avoid such situations and set deadlines for all your tasks. Also, when completing the task, avoid procrastinating.
- Know your limits: Many a times, people tend to multitask not because they don’t plan or prioritize but because of the certain situations which demands actions. Don’t take responsibilities of things if you are not able to complete them with full focus and attention.