Yes, you heard me right. Your attempts to be productive by multitasking…spinning lots of plates at the same time…actually causes you to be less effective!
True be told (and why share anything but the truth?) it’s highly likely you aren’t multitasking.
Instead, you’re just switching from task-to-task, spending a few moments on one thing and a few seconds on another and a nanosecond on issues 3, 4, through 126.
A psychology professor, David Strayer, has the research to support my blatant statement. His study found when you try to keep multiple balls in the air (my language), your performance heads south.
Instead of accomplishing more, you actually get less done. Like up to 40% less.
Perhaps this explains why you’re so tired all the time. Why so much still sits on your plate despite your very best efforts to get $#!* done.
In your heroic attempt to do more, you’re really accomplishing less.
I salute you, because your motivation to get things done is extremely high. You are no slacker. You are on a mission.
Motivation isn’t the issue.
Can we exchange some of that motivation for discipline?
Discipline enables you to tackle fewer things—what is the problem you want—and get more stuff done.
Take a look at your To Do List. Right now. Take a deep breath, and cross off 40% of what’s on it.
I’m betting those things are not the best use of your time, and if you put any effort into getting those off your list, something super important will only be half-done.
Multitasking is your capable, worthy opponent keeping you from getting to your finish line.
It’s not your friend.
Go forth and do great things,
Martha Hanlon & Chris Williams
P.S. Now here’s one other part of Dr Stayer’s study. A very small percentage of us really could be multitaskers. People call them supertaskers. But only about 2.5% of all of us can spin lots of plates at the same time. That 2.5% likely doesn’t include you and me.