A keynote speaker at a nursing conference quoted researcher David Myer's findings that suggest multitasking makes you overall 25% less efficient when completing any single task. Multitasking diminishes productivity.
Switching attention from one task (such as email) to another (taking a phone call, for example) and back again slows you down. Although that isn't surprising, it does bring into question the way we work today. Thanks to technologies including email and social media, we are constantly distracted and multitasking rules the day.We rely on our devices without question despite the hit we take on productivity.
Pretty much all work activity we complete will be done over time by switching attention from one task to the next. This begs the question, does it affect the quality of your work? If you could focus completely on one task would the result be more evolved and creative? Likely.
The keynote speaker for the nursing conference relayed how he puts aside uninterrupted time for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. During these 20 minute blocks he is more productive and innovative than ever.
It is not possible to focus on more than one thing at a time. If you think you are really listening to a phone conversation when you are also picking up email; you are wrong. You actually divert your attention from one task to the next, missing part of the conversation as you browse your inbox.
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