Many controversial arguments surround multitasking whether it decreases or increases productivity. For sure, there are cons and pros to multitasking. While it allows organizations to approach more tasks and maintain a diverse day. On the other hand, it makes employees feel overwhelmed hence might result in poor work quality. For multitasking to be effective, employees must learn multitasking in a manner that emphasizes its benefits while minimizing the drawbacks of multitasking (Crenshaw, 2007).
Benefits of multitasking
Multitasking has many benefits. Through multitasking, employees can include a diverse range of activities in their day. This enables them to acquire a richer work experience and their lives become better rounded. In addition, the ability to move forth and back across projects kills boredom, which keeps employees creative and inspired in their work. Moreover, multitasking lets employees apply their downtime productivity such as doing one thing while lining up for the next task. In the current modern business world, multitasking has become the only approach to get all things done (Goldstein, 2008).
Multitasking increases efficiency; due to multitasking, almost everything can be accomplished simultaneously. For example, an individual can do his/her work at the same time listen to music. Through multitasking, we obtain better opportunities to eliminate minor tasks hence enhancing our efficiency (Crenshaw, 2007).
We can save time through multitasking; multitasking is simple and can be applied on computers. While browsing on the internet, we can create several documents on the computer. This is likely to save time required to deliver a task. In fact, anyone seeking to finish his/her work fast should consider multitasking.
Limitations of multitasking
Unfortunately, the aforementioned benefits come with significant drawbacks. Multitasking drives the attention of employees suggesting that work quality is likely to be low than if the task was approached through a single focus. For instance, accidents may occur easily because of the lowered concentration. If an employee is a typewriter or responding to clients’ emails, many typos will be imminent. Correcting such errors will take much time resulting in reduced productivity and quality. In addition, employees tend to waste time moving forth and back between chores, as they must remind themselves of where they were before they moved to a different task. In many occasions, tasks remain unfinished because employees tend to move to a different task meaning that the overall productivity will be reduced due to multitasking (Crenshaw, 2010).
Problems associated with multitasking
Multitasking does not work because employees cannot focus on different tasks at the same time. However, most of us think we can, therefore we waste a lot of time multitasking to achieve more at the same time. Let us imagine talking to someone while at the same time we are writing an email. All the two tasks involve some form of communication. It is impossible to pass an oral message and write a focused and clear email concurrently. These are extremely conflicting tasks. They are likely to overload the mind as we attempt to switch from one task to the other. Let us try to listen to someone as we write an email. These tasks appear to be somehow easier because they depend on different skills. However, our attention to the speaker is expected to fade on and off as we are willing to write. Simply, we cannot focus on both tasks. The greatest problem associated with multitasking is that it is likely to lower the quality of work. As we attempt to do more than one tasks at the same time, the result is that we do all tasks but due to divided attention, we end up with poor quality results (Goldstein, 2008).
Suggestions that can improve productivity and creativity
In the occasion of a busy schedule, employees should find ways to do more things. Most employees have reported to turn to multitasking as the only available solution. They do this with the thought that multitasking enables them kill two birds with one stone. However, revelations prove that multitasking is the worst strategy. According to accumulating research findings, multitasking is associated with more harm than good. Employees should work on one task at a time because this helps their brain remain focused (Crenshaw, 2007). Thus, it allows them to process tasks at a fast speed and use less time to accomplish more. However, multitasking makes brains to shift gears. Employees who work on one task at a time think fast and enjoy the ease of concentration. This means that they are not easily confused because they are only dealing with one task. For companies to increase employee creativity and productivity, teamwork at the work place must be promoted. All employees must feel that they are relevant to the company and believe that they make valuable contributions to the achievement of organizational objectives. Team building activities are fundamental in every business to ensure that team performance is monitored for the overall organizational achievements. By following these simple recommendations, businesses can transform their employees into an efficient workforce resulting in clearly visible outcomes (Crenshaw, 2010).
Chart 1: The most beneficial and the most problematic conditions in multitasking
|Most beneficial conditions in multitasking||Most problematic conditions in multitasking|
|Multitasking increases efficiency; due to multitasking, almost everything can be accomplished simultaneously.||Multitasking makes employees feel overwhelmed hence might result in poor work quality.|
|Through multitasking, employees can include a diverse range of activities in their day. This enables them to acquire a richer experience and their lives become better rounded.||As we attempt to do more than one tasks at the same time, the result is that we do all tasks but due to divided attention, we end up with poor quality results.|
|The ability to move forth and back across projects kills boredom, which keeps employees creative and inspired in their work||Employees tend to waste time moving forth and back between chores, as they must remind themselves of where they were before they moved to a different task.|
The key to make the most out of multitasking is companies to understand the cons and pros from inside out. What companies must learn is to prioritize projects and tasks in terms of the duration required and their importance to complete them. Important and high quality tasks require singular focus and attention. Short duration tasks require to be completed in one sitting to avoid time wasted on breaking them and coming back. On the contrary, less important tasks or which require longer durations resulting in boredom might be good candidates for multitasking. If companies take this approach in organizing their multitasking, multitasking will be able to work for the company instead of against the company (Goldstein, 2008).
Crenshaw, D. (2007). Multitasking Is Worse Than a Lie. New York: Fresh Juice Books.
Crenshaw, D. (2010). The myth of multitasking: How doing it all gets nothing done. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Goldstein, E. B. (2008). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. Australia: Thomson Wadsworth.