September 28, 2010
Does Multitasking Hurt Productivity?
Is multitasking hurting your productivity? Multitasking sounds great in theory: By doing several tasks simultaneously you save time and get things done more effectively…right?
The BBC reports:
Indeed, media multitasking sounds, at first glance, like a boon for productivity. If we can do two things at once, we can do twice the amount in the same length of time, or the same amount in half the time. Either way, it’s a nifty trick. But it’s not quite as simple as that, as my frustrating evening demonstrated. A raft of studies has found that, actually, multitasking is a good way to do several things badly.
For example, studies by Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California, have found that when people are continually distracted from one task, they work faster but produce less. Another found that students solving a maths puzzle took 40% longer – and suffered more stress – when they were made to multitask.
As I wrote this post, I was listening to music. I was also interrupted several times as I attempted to multitask or otherwise got sidetracked. I responded to messages via instant messaging, email, AND texted messages to my phone! All of these things ironically distracted me from writing this post. I’ve also noticed that while I used to sit and read a good book for hours, now after about a half hour I start getting restless. Is this a product of age, or of the increased pace and multitasking of our daily environments?
There is another interesting comment made in the article: “Philosopher Damon Young, author of [the book] Distraction, says that we’ve become habituated to checking e-mails and texts, and turn towards the “safe novelty” of Facebook rather than the important but tricky stuff of real life.” Texting is now supposedly being the preferred communication method for 12-17 year olds. Is the “safe novelty” of this sort of multitasking distracting us even from the “tricky stuff” of real life relationships because its easier?
Do you think multitasking helps or hinders your productivity? What about your relationships?
Darren Hewer did not grow up in the church but came to faith in Christ later in life at the age of 22. He earned his BA in Information Systems & Human Behavior at the University of Guelph, and his MTS in Theological Studies at Tyndale Seminary. Currently he works as an online editor for TruthMedia. Visit his “faith blog” at www.WhyFaith.com … and read his story of how he came to faith at www.WhyFaith.com/mystory … also download his free ebook about why we should trust the Bible: The Historical Reliability of the New TestamentBack to Top