Whenever you take a look around, and you will see that multitasking has become a way of life. Multitasking can be defined as the ability of an individual to carry our more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from phrase "computer multitasking." An example of multitasking is a person driving with one hand on the steering wheel, the other hand holding a cell phone and smoking all at the same time. There has been much debate about the effectiveness of multitasking as a way of doing work. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of multitasking.
Research has revealed that multitasking can greatly increase the productivity of an individual to an extent where it is more likely to create mental pressure and a strong sense of urgency which it imposes. Technology has also changed the priorities in the business world of today. Getting one thing done in a short period of time is not as important anymore. Priority is given to addressing whichever fraction of a wide range of tasks that has become most urgent at that time.
In short, what part of which project requires to be attended to immediately.
Multitasking has really helped in the growth of businesses. In the information age, work doesn't follow a linear pattern like in the industrial age where an employee could tackle one project then work on it till the end in order to move to the next one. Now we have faxes, emails, conference calls and personal answering machines and suddenly, a number of different clients can contact us about a variety of different topics, all in a matter of seconds through multitasking.
Although there are some advantages of multitasking, experts have conducted research to find out how the brain responds to multiple tasks. Studies indicate that mmultitasking and continuous, frequent interruptions are the main sources of stress that can have a heavy impact on your general health and wellbeing. Frequent multitasking is a source of chronic stress that promotes physical breakdown of the body over a period of time compromising your overall wellbeing.
Apart from being a major source of stress, experts suggest that a company loses an average of 2.1 hours everyday in employee productivity when employees multitask and also lowers their intelligence quotients by ten points. The idea implying that, women are better at multitasking than men, has been very popular in the media, unfortunately there has yet to be any scientific research to confirm this.
Multitasking may have its short term merits but prolonged multitasking may affect the health of an individual by stressing the mind and the body. There are those times when multitasking helps you to achieve more, for example, returning phone calls when installing or loading a large software application. The key is to think before you automatically assume that you will achieve more by trying to do everything at once. Some projects in your line of work require your undivided attention, and identifying which ones do will definitely save you a lot of time and might even help you to achieve more at your work place.
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