Multi-tasking is a skill that many leverage on their resumes or during performance reviews. Sadly, multi-tasking is not as helpful as you may think. Here are three negative impacts multi-tasking can have on your work:
1. Making simple mistakes
When multitasking, you put yourself at risk of making easy mistakes. Your attention jumps from one project to another, thoughts may become confused between projects, and you are more likely to make simple mistakes that could’ve have been avoided if your mindset was focused on a single task. According to Forbes, “multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.”
2. It takes longer to complete tasks
Working on multiple projects at once can waste time. Switching attention between projects often takes longer to re-focus on the project you have switched to which wastes time that could have been used more productively on a single task.
3. It will burn you out
Working on multiple projects at once can not only cause stress, but can burn you out in the process. It may become harder to complete these projects in one sitting and can cause difficulty with spacing out the work. Knowing that you have multiple projects to complete only becomes a burden and may begin to cause you to continual stress about what needs to be finished.
What You Should Do Instead
Do you have multiple projects to complete? Make a list. Prioritize it. Make sure that the project that is of higher priority and projects that need to be finished in a timely manner are the first items to complete on your list. Be sure to take into consideration how much time each task should take, make sure you are completing them within that time, and not dragging it out to avoid the smaller projects. Work on these projects in order and one at a time; putting all your focus on one task will help you produce better work and keep yourself and your employers happy with the quality work you create.
2. Create a quiet workspace
Working down your to-do list can be very rewarding, especially if you create a habit out of it. Your work will become more organized and you will have less stress. Sitting down to complete one project without distraction will become easier over time, and help strengthen your focus. In today’s culture, distractions are inevitable. Creating a quiet work space with one task at hand will make for a better outcome and allow you to work more efficiently.
3. Take necessary breaks
Naturally, after looking at and thinking about one consistent topic over a period of time, you can begin to lose momentum. Use this as an opportunity to recharge. Take ten minutes to relax, check text messages and grab some water.
Attempting to multi-task with the intent of producing quality work can be more stressful and time-consuming than completing single tasks. Creating habits to improve your focus such as prioritizing, creating a quiet workspace and taking necessary breaks will lead you down a road to success. The quality of your work will increase, and it will present itself to your current and prospective employers. Regain your focus, take total control of your work and it will show!
Check out more helpful work habits here!