What are the Different Hazards of Multitasking?
I was in a meeting discussing things that I do not care about so I decided to fiddle around with my Blackberry. I opened my inbox and decided to
respond to a client. I know it is rude but I just had to maximize my time.
Multitasking, if you like, is the buzzword today. It is the buzzword among business executives. Accomplishing more in a limited time span is something
that everyone must know how to do. Or is it?
Well, the bad thing is when it came to me to respond to a question of the chair of the company, I realized I had not heard the question as I was busy
replying to messages in my inbox. I wanted to ask him to repeat the question but I did not want to give the chair the impression that I was not in full
attention to what was being discussed. I took the cue from the topic thread and tried to give my opinion about the proposed brochure printing design. I
rattled off until my colleague nudged me to tell me that we have moved on to another topic. I was embarrassed but I tried to salvage the situation. This
is the danger of multitasking.
Studies showed that people distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQs. How does a 10-point drop in an IQ equate
to? It is no different to losing one night of sleep. I bet you have experienced this before - up all night and working the following day. I bet you could not
even get your brain to start even a sentence.
Doing several things at once is something we play on ourselves to get more things done. However, in reality, our productivity goes down by as much
as 40%. We do not actually multitask. We switch-task, that is, we rapidly shift from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and
losing time in the process.
You might think you are wired differently and that you have done it so much you have mastered the art of multitasking. Practice, they say, makes
perfect and all that. Nevertheless, this is not exactly true. Research shows that heavy multitaskers are less competent