We have all multi-tasked and continue to do so in some way, shape or form. Some more so than others. The problem is that multi-tasking is actually killing our productivity in the work place. What do we need to do to get it back?
A program that I went through a couple of years ago, is a program called Mission Control. One of the most important principles that Mission Control taught me was to allot specific time for everything that you do so that you can be fully present in the moment to accomplish that task. By doing this, you aren’t worrying about other things that need to be accomplished because you are allotting time for everything that you do and you know that’s all you have to do in that time and space. You were fully present in that particular moment which allowed for maximum productivity.
The concept of multi-tasking was debunked for us with an exercise where they had us multi-task and then have us recount information for the exercise. The class as a whole did a poor job, at best, with multi-tasking. The question is why do we still do it?
In a workplace environment consider the following statistics:
A study last fall by Basex, a New York research firm, found that office distractions ate up 2.1 hours a day for the average worker. Another study found that employees devoted an average of 11 minutes to a project before being distracted. Researchers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonsalez of the University of California, Irvine, found that once interrupted, it takes workers 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they return at all. People switch activities, such as making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle or working on a document, every three minutes on average, Mark said.
Betty Lin-Fisher (for Knight Ridder Newspapers), Houston Chronicle, 2/27/2006)
On a typical day, office workers are interrupted about seven times an hour, which adds up to 56 interruptions a day, 80% of which are considered trivial, according to time-management experts.
Wendy Cole, TIME Magazine, 10/11/2004
If you think these statistics are fun. I got them here Time Management Statistics.
There are all sorts of statistics on time management and productivity to be found. Look at the above stats on interruptions in the workplace. We are killing our productivity for trivial items and only working at a little over half or our capacity as a result. Studies also suggest that were hurting our brains by multi-tasking. The point is even against our better instincts, we continue to multi-task all in the name of productivity.
What mistakes are you making with multi-tasking? How do you keep co-worker interruptions to a minimum? How do keep your day productive?