The Myth of Multitasking

Can you honestly say you can text and drive well, or do you find yourself swerving off to the curb once and a while? How comfortable would you be if your dentist was tweeting while she was giving you a root canal? How do you think your kids feel when you’re texting on your Crackberry during their piano recital? Can you honestly say you can give 100% of your energy to all of your multiple projects all at once without suffering quality?

Multitasking is one of those words invented by hiring managers and people in Human Resources to hire one person to do multiple jobs for a one-person salary. It’s a fake talent and an overrated skill.

One could argue that CEOs are juggling multiple things at once. That’s only because they’ve outsourced many of their management tasks to minions in the corporate hierarchy. The CEO doesn’t oversee daily operations. That’s what the COO and middle management is for. The CEO doesn’t oversee the development of the company’s social media marketing. That’s a job for the PR department, the Marketing department, and the IT department.

Do not confuse multitasking with being multitalented. They are not the same. It often takes multiple skills and talent to accomplish any task. But to accomplish your tasks well, you need to focus on one project at a time, and often break large projects down into mini tasks.

If you’re constantly multitasking, then you’re probably always falling behind on your projects, or your projects aren’t being completed to the level of quality you’d like, which never feels gratifying. You can either take on fewer projects, or you should spread the work out to others so that every project gets the attention they deserve. This way you won’t compromise productivity or quality.

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ideavist