In one of our previous roundups, “Studies reveal that energy and self-control are directly related to your productivity,” multitasking was mentioned as a negative habit that reduces work efficiency. The reason is that the human brain can only fully concentrate on one task at a time. So, before you begin working on something else, finish the previous task and let it go!
Vivian Giang, a business writer for Fast Company, has done a deeper analysis on this topic. She revealed some surprising facts in her article about how multitasking affects IQ and prevents people from getting promoted at work.
Giang refers to Cal Newport, Georgetown professor and author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, and reports the following: if you’re unable to accomplish important work that requires full focus, then you should probably change your job! If you can’t manage to do the crucial tasks that bring added value to the company, then you won’t grow professionally. Newport writes in his book that the ability to do small tasks (eg. dealing with emails) will guarantee employment, but performing tasks that have a greater impact and improve your knowledge will lead to career growth. The reason for being unable to do critical work is due an inability to concentrate, or multitasking.
Different studies show that constantly switching from one task to another reduces “brain brightness.” Giang cites some research conducted by the University of London, which reveals that multitasking reduces IQ by 10 to 15 points. Someone who multitasks has the impression that they’re being super-productive when in reality, they’re working unproductively.
Companies may lose profit because of employees that multitask. Furthermore, constant multitasking leaves permanent damage to areas in brain that are responsible for controlling emotions and empathy. If you can’t properly organize your tasks, you can’t do them accurately.
Nowadays office environments are producers of busy multitaskers. The average workday can start with a meeting, then switch to work, then speak about yesterday’s problems, back to work, scroll some news, etc.
To stop multitasking, the way you handle tasks should be changed. To work more efficiently, you should have as much time as you can without interruption and distraction.
The original post “These Are The Long-Term Effects Of Multitasking” was published on Fast Company, March 3, 2016 (written by Vivian Giang)