Multi-tasking – Is it good or bad? | Daily News

Multi-tasking – Is it good or bad?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first citation of the word multitasking is from 1966, in a magazine called Datamation: Multitasking is defined as the use of single CPU for the simultaneous processing of two or more jobs. The more general sense of multi tasking, then, arose from this computing term.

Multitasking, in a human context, is the practice of doing multiple things simultaneously, such as editing a document or responding to email while attending a teleconference or chewing gum while walking, sending emails during a meeting and talking on the phone while watching television.

Whilst the persons who do multitasking are called ‘Multi-taskers’, the persons who try to do several or too many different things at once are called as ‘heavy Multi-taskers’.

The Multi-taskers probably think that they are balancing everything at one time very well. But is this really true? It may or not be. Many of the multi-taskers assume that multitasking is the best way to increase their productivity. If you are working on several different tasks at the same time, you will always accomplish more.

This may surprise you but research about the brain and its functionality is showing that switching from task to task at the same time actually negatively affects your productivity output.

In fact it has been proven that trying to do many things at once may actually weaken your cognitive abilities. Research has demonstrated multitasking can causeimpairments during certain cognitive tasks involving task switching, selective attention and working memory, both in the laboratory and in real life situations.

Multitasking is especially stressful when the tasks are important, as they often are on the job. The brain responds to impossible demands by pumping out adrenaline and other stress hormones that put a person “on edge”. Over time, the stress of Multi tasking may even become dangerous.

Further multi tasking reduces your efficiency and performance because the brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. In addition to slowing you down, multi tasking lowers your IQ.

Multitasking takes toll on your memory. Juggling many tasks can divide attention and hurt learning and performance. Multitasking also takes significantly greater toll on working memory of older people.

Finally Multi tasking can seem like an advantage, especially in the business world, but constantly performing several tasks at once can lead to a drop in productivity. The bad effects of multi tasking take their toll by not allowing you to recover from excessive stimulation that bombards you on a daily basis. All the above facts confirm that Multitasking may be useful but it is bad if done as a routine practice.

Since root cause of multi tasking is time management let us have look on improving our time management skills.

Time management skills include prioritizing, organization, delegation, strategic planning and problem solving. From your things do list, first focus on “urgent and important” activities, then on “not urgent and important” activities, there after ” not important and urgent” activities and finally carry out the “not urgent and not important” activities.

As out lined above, improve prioritizing skills as well as other time management skills and improve your performances. Always focus on your work and performance during your working hours, but also think of your health family and future which are vital for your holistic approach to a meaningful and successful life.

Words of advice for the employers, should you be interested in carrying out an important task , always assign it to the most busiest employee as in spite of the fact that he has many things to do he will some or other find a time to fulfill your request and should you be interested in assigning a difficult task assign it to a lazy employee where he will find a short cut to finish the assigned task fast as possible.

(The writer is a Professional Marketer, Strategist, Motivational, Life Education and Life Management Coach. He could be reached via [email protected])

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