By Sibila D. Hujic
The concept of multitasking has been around for as long as I can remember. While running a focus group, I received an emergency e-mail that needed to be immediately addressed. I took a moment to answer the e-mail while I actively listened to what was being said in response to my questions. I thought I did a great job! Good thing I record all my focus groups because when I listened back to that particular group I was aware of everything that was said except for about five minutes in the middle. I realized that was when I was replying to the email. How is that possible I wondered? I was actively listening.
After some research I found out that multitasking is actually a myth. People can’t really multitask. According to scientists the human brain can not perform two tasks that require high level brain functions at once. So trying to listen and retain what is being said and trying to formulate a response to an e-mail will not work. Low level functions such as breathing and walking are not considered multitasking which is often the response I get when I try share what I learned.
So what really happens when we think we are multitasking? Instead of doing two things simultaneously, we are actually switching from one task to another really quickly. You are switching back and forth so quickly that you might not even notice but this increases the occurence of errors. Things do slip between the cracks and the loss of focus will add up. While you may feel as if your are being more productive, you are not. The most efficient way to complete your tasks and projects is one at a time. Finish it completely before moving on to the next. This method will lower the chance of mistakes and slip ups.