However, according to a study conducted by Harvard University and published in a book called Organize your Mind Organize your Life, it was found that employees who juggled several tasks at once not only took three times longer to complete them, they also made twice as many mistakes compared to employees who focused on one task at a time. The reason for this is because employees who were multitasking never fully engaged with the task on hand, and were therefore unable to give it their undivided attention.
Here are a few tips to avoid multitasking:
Prioritise. Take a few minutes at the beginning of the day to work out what needs to be accomplished; delegate when possible. Prioritise the jobs on hand; start with the most important one.
Maintain focus. Work on a project without any interruptions for at least an hour or an hour-and-a-half. When you concentrate on a task and give it your undivided attention, you will produce quality results. Early morning, when there are fewer interruptions (meetings, visitors and phone calls) is usually the best time to do this.
Minimise distractions. E-mails are huge distractions and checking your inbox every few minutes while working on something is a waste of time. Designate a time, for example every hour, to check and respond to your e-mails. The same goes for checking cell phone messages and surfing social media websites.
Pause and recharge. Take a break from work at least twice during the day. Pause and do something that can re-energise you, like a few simple deep breathing exercises, a power nap or a coffee break. Such breaks help maximise productivity by allowing your mind to recharge.
– Zeeshan Lakhpaty
The writer is a professional corporate trainer. firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 29, 2012.