What do you tell a multi-tasker when they’re busy?

Fascinating to see what a core of professional time-management coaches gave you as their top tip to improve your efficiency in 2013.

The tip was basically to ‘stop multi-tasking’. If we believe all the surveys, most of us who sit in open plan offices get interrupted every 11 minutes (and take double that time to re-focus), spend half our days going through the inbox, respond to a new e-mail within an hour of receiving it, all done in between responding to instant messaging media and phone calls and meetings.

Most of us believe we need to multi-task just to stay afloat. But we don’t always feel good about it. In fact Dr. Glenn Wilson of King’s College in London tested 1,100 office workers and found that many of them – after experiencing the regime described above lost 10 points off their I.Q at the end of a day. And the feeling you’re left with is that you’ve missed a night’s sleep.

Sadly,  the time-managers got it right. In recent years many independent psychologists have discovered that the great art of multi-tasking is actually bad for us.

It’s a difficult one because multi-taskers believe they’re getting better at what they do. (They simply get better at ‘switching’ between things. Their ability to concentrate and to produce a quality output really suffers).

The multi-taskers themselves believe their biggest problem is – ‘ a lack of team communication and unclear objectives’ (Microsoft Office Productivity Challenge).

The time-managers who set out to fix them advise them to stop-multi-tasking.

There seems to be a gap in perception – but is there? And is there anything we can
suggest as a remedy?

Multi-tasking references:




Next week we will explore some solutions.

Ron Hopkins, PEPworldwide UK

Johan Chr. Holst, PEPww Norge, Redaktør

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