Multitasking disputed

There is much controversy among Experts about multitasking. Some say that doing more than one task at the same time is inefficient.

The more realistic situation is, not performing many tasks at the same time, (what anyway is nearly impossible, unless one is gifted like Napoleon Bonaparte) but acting like a juggler: starting a task and before finishing it, starting with the next, returning to a previous (unfinished) one and so on.

Jumping forth and back between different tasks, means, it is said, that you only can focus partially on the tasks. Your attention is divided between the tasks. You are not able to do your tasks with 100 percent of your energy and thus, the experts say you cannot perform your tasks well enough.

Multitasking is a time waster
Another argument described often is: resuming an interrupted task needs some startup time to reach again full track of the task. This start up time is wasted time. When multi tasking, furthermore, it is said, that there is no room for creative thinking.

Multitasking and science
I don’t want to step into an academic discussion. First I am not gifted enough to value the various findings, second I am cautious with presenting too much scientific stuff, that maybe shows up as outdated soon.

What I describe in this website are common sense considerations and practically approved methods and concepts. Using it works and produces positive effects, whether they are scientifically researched or not. Nobody needs scientific discussions and quibbles when applying for a driving licence or driving a car.

I do not dismiss science, I reject explaining all and everything and always with scientific meticulousness. I just want to face contradicting scientific findings and theories that put science into another light. Maybe this shakes your believes. How you handle the information is up to you.

Brain damage by multi tasking?
One Scientist even states that your brains get damaged by excess information overload. I admit, that people not able to develop means to cope with information overload, will suffer some damage. That seems to be true for any overload, be it food, information, sports, internet surfing, sex or whatever “too much”. Normally, nature and common sense care for means to protect human beings from detrimental impacts.

Multitasking a braingym?
However, another expert with an excellent reputation presents another view on the above arguments about multi tasking. Dr. Torkel Klingberg, Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Neuroscience, of the Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden. (http://ki.se/en/people/torkli) He discovered, that our working memories can be enlarged. He believes that our brains are able to solve their problems by itselves. (The webpage describing his finding is unfortunately no longer available)

“It could be, that the rising flood of information not only is harmless, however, even increases our cognitive abilities by ramping up our working memory.”

Maybe multi tasking is a good method to train our brain. Currently nobody exactly knows the long term effects of information overload through multi tasking.

Conclusion:
From a multi tasking point of view, if it is seen as the “juggling” of tasks as pointed out above:

  • Multi tasking is a fact , nobody can eliminate it totally in a real job environment. We have to live with it in our fast paced business environments. Therefore, the development of skills, that help us to cope with the negative effects supports our working success.

  • Multi tasking of course lends to increased time demand, because resuming work needs additional time, that can be saved, if interruptions can be avoided.

  • Avoid multi tasking as much as possible by allocating undisturbed time chunks during your working day.

  • Whenever possible include even a few minutes breaks in your workflow and give your brain the chance to pause from your thoughts about your workload. This is a magic truth about regaining creativity and performance at work.

  • Where and when impossible, when back at work, use the simple procedures explained in http://www.time-management-use.com/to-do-list.html and in more detail in the TAO Timing ebook.

to top of > Multitasking Disputed
Back to Home