Is Multitasking Bad for Your Business? Latest Research Links Multitasking to Stress and Burnout

The type of person who prefers to work sequentially as opposed to simultaneously, will experience a significant amount of stress when multitasking. And that’s just the beginning.

The Downside of Multitasking

Prolonged multitasking will lead to loss of efficiency and quality, and eventually to burnout. This can be exacerbated by working in an environment that clashes with an individual’s natural working style in terms of lighting, noise levels, and time of day.

Work Smarter

Working and thinking in conditions that enhance a person’s unique brain performance will combat the levels of stress arising from multitasking.

For example, time management tips are useful only if they are right for the given individual and for the unique way in which his or her brain works.

  • Prioritize ruthlessly”, “Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks” and “Be sure your systems are organized” are all very good time management tips for people whose brains are analytic and detail-oriented, but totally unsuitable for global thinkers.
  • Establish routines and stick to them” will work for those who love routine, but will be totally counter-productive for change-oriented variety-driven people.
  • People who like working alone will not do well by following the tip to “Learn to delegate and outsource”- it would simply be too stressful and too counter-productive to their working style.

Working in Style with Working Styles

Working in an environment that’s comfortable and compatible with a person’s working style can prevent stress and burnout. It lets people solve problems using their strengths and eliminates conditions that are not helpful when concentrating.

 

What’s more, it can motivate people, energise them and increase their productivity.

Still, today’s technology enables — or even demands — us to stretch our attention over several simultaneous activities.

Who Is A Multitasker?

A true multitasker is a perso who can:

  1. Read the new email headings in their inbox, deleting spam and items of no interest, while speaking to a client on the phone.
  2. Chat to a colleague on Skype while planning their new presentation.
  3. Text under the table during a meeting, while paying equal attention to both.
  4. Text while speaking into the landline and scanning the email headings.
  5. Text while speaking into the landline and scanning the email headings and sipping coffee.
  6. Impersonate The Cat In The Hat and, with a cup and a cake on the top of his hat, he can hold up TWO books, the fish, a little toy ship and some milk on a dish. While texting his client and speaking into the landline, of course.

What is carefully juggled multitasking to one person may appear quite natural to another. How many activities an indiviidual can perform and on how many projects they can work before they start to become less efficient and more mistake-prone, all depends on their own unique Working Style. Some people thrive on doing little bits here and little bits there, others need to see a task or a project to its end before moving on to something new.


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