Multitasking is draining enjoyment of your work-life.

Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 in Career Advice | 3 comments

Years ago most job advertisements listed multitasking as an essential skill of qualified employees. Now more and more studies and articles suggest multitasking is a drain on employee and company resources.

Today we have more opportunity to be attached to many different tasks at once than ever before. We can take phone calls, emails, files and documents with us wherever we go. We are tempted to multitask our life away, twenty-four hours a day.

When our focus is split by multitasking, we are unable to devote ourselves to the task at hand and unable to fully enjoy life. Being present in each moment as we live it allows us to experience with all our senses, to pay attention to our needs, and proactively consider and manage our needs and the needs of our employer.

I excel in my work and am more successful at meeting my goals when I am focused on one task at a time. I can prioritize and consider which task requires my immediate attention, and focus on that task before moving on to the next task. It is enough to manage one task at a time, and in doing so I make fewer errors and spend less time making amends to customers and co-workers, and less time correcting errors.

Practicing work-life balance requires me to focus on what’s important and let go of the rest. I must attend to what is truly essential to my personal care, family care and professional goals. To be successful in my work-life balance, I must reduce the amount of unwanted and unnecessary information that will distract me from what is important to me.

Loving my work-life requires me to live a mindful existence, doing the next right thing and allowing what I can accomplish today to be enough. Loving my work-life requires that I accept myself as I am so I may make the best use of my skills and talents and ask for guidance and direction with other tasks. To do this I must pay special attention to this moment as it happens, recognizing and honoring what I can and can’t do.

We all have to multitask sometimes in our work and our lives. Practice balance and moderate multitasking so that multitasking works for you, not against you. If multitasking is splitting your focus, creating feelings of stress and causing increased errors, consider unitasking instead and experience more joy in your work-life.

For more information on the potential harms of multitasking, consider these articles:

Believe It: Multitasking Reduces Productivity…. and That’s Not All by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D. from SelfHelpMagazine.com

Drop that BlackBerry! Multitasking may be harmful by Theresa Tamkins from CNNHealth.com

3 Comments

  1. Hey Chrysta,

    I totally agree with you . This multitasking concept is destroying our life bit by bit. I think multitasking is really bad for our mind because it takes away our mind from concentrating on things that matter.
    However the current corporate work totally stands for multitasking, as if humans are machines. Even machine cannot multitask. That for them is just an appearance because they are really fast. When one bit is worked upon, another bit cannot be processed in the microprocessor.
    With so many things on plate such as lot of work, an email software, messengers and every other thing around us, managing things really become difficult. In the end we have to correct more errors and our work is full of errors or omissions. Seth Godin has written on disturbance that happens in office that leads to loss of productivity.
    I hope people learn from your experience and make their lives better . Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Ashvini!

      Multitasking leads to less efficiency, not more productivity and this is the opposite of what companies actually want in their organizations! I’m glad this issue is getting more attention and I hope employers wake up soon and realize their employees can get more done by focusing on one thing at a time. It’s better for the company and better for the employee.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  2. Chrysta – good post! If we live in the moment, then of course we can only focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking requires having our mind in the past and the future and removes clarity. Learning the discipline to do this in the 21st century is a challenge (one few people ever master). I salute you for taking this on and wish you luck.

    Phil

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