Have you ever been reprimanded by a boss about multitasking? One of the requirements for most jobs are to have the ability to multitask. Employers and co-workers complain if you haven’t mastered that skill as they claim they have. I’ve been in that predicament from the start of my work life at 18 years old. It wasn’t as tedious as it is now.
Since then, I thought I multitask pretty well because I usually got the work done and helped with other tasks. Others did not feel that way in the corporate world, so I realize that it depends on the tasks I have and my environment. When I am in an environment doing work I am passionate about, I multitask well when I need to most of the time according to corporate world standards, but multitasking is really unnecessary when I work from home.
In fact, as soon as I went through the destructive criticism about my multitasking skills at a 9-5, I did my research as soon as I returned home. I was shocked at what I discovered but I totally understood why I was so uncomfortable at a 9-5. I researched several places that showed results from case studies.
What is multitasking? Multitasking is a multitude of confusion such as performing two or more tasks at the same time, switching back and forth from one task to another. Often times it is switching while doing these tasks swiftly.
According to all these researchers, these are the disadvantages of multitasking:
Poor attention and memory loss
With all the distractions while you work, no wonder studies show short attention spans and forgetfulness. It’s obviously too much at one time. Many think because they master tasks that it has not effected them; but have you noticed those who do well still struggle and eventually make more mistakes?
They just don’t magnify those mistakes each time they are made. Depending on the person, those mistakes are overlooked. Other times, some will call themselves names like “stupid” or “dummy”.
Unfortunately one of the disadvantages of multitasking is that many people tend to forget that we are all human. Therefore, it is proven that human beings are created to mono-task, which allows us to focus on one thing at a time. Isn’t one task easier to remember than a bunch of tasks at one time? Mono-tasking is a trait that many entrepreneurs possess, which is one of the reasons they become successful. They focus on their skill and outsource other tasks to someone else. If they have more than one skill, they can do one skill at a time to get one task done at a time until that task is complete. Then they move on to the next.
I am not speaking for all entrepreneurs. I am speaking for those who have accomplished much by using this ability to mono-task. I also speak for myself. I have my heart set on getting that one thing done and will plan it at least a day or so in advance. I expect to complete it that day. If I don’t complete it, I will work on it another day until it is complete.
I will set aside that day to accomplish those couple of tasks that I need to perfect to the best of my ability, even if I must do a completed portion of it at a time. For example, if I have to shoot videos, I will devote that time to record at least a couple of the same video and choose the best one to upload. Then I will move on to the next video on a different topic. Once I am done, I will move to another task. If I can only do one video, I will do one.
Multitasking increases chronic stress.
Believe it or not, stress can be associated with multitasking. Too many tasks are overwhelming to think about much less do. I itch just thinking about what all I need to do if I had to do it all at once. So I try to focus on one. When I work at home at my own pace, it is less stressful, and having a peace of mind is more important.
In fact, scientists have found that multitaskers STILL experience more stress, its effects linger after their tasks are complete. Stress levels can increase even when the person is no longer multitasking.
This can also make you less productive and efficient. Bottom line, you can’t get everything done at one time and expect it all to go smoothly. Something will eventually have to give. Studies show that multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40%. Switching from 0ne task to another without finishing the last one can cause memory blocks and slow you down. It also causes distractions that lead to these issues.
Multitasking can cause depression.
Depression within itself is already bad enough. Imagine the domino effect that comes with the inhumane and unnatural way of life called multitasking. When you are depressed, your IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) can be lowered directly and indirectly as a result of multitasking.
After seeing how ineffective I realized it was for me, I became really depressed while at work and as soon as I returned home. Pressures of multitasking and the frustration at work caused me to make more mistakes in one day vs. the day I focused on one thing at a time. Of course my focusing on one each individual task and their idea of speed vs. slowness is what got me into trouble at a job.
However, as soon as I found out the results of my research, I felt better. The depression left and I focused on continuing to build my business. Those hours at home of focusing on one thing at a time helped me see results. In fact, the day before I was reprimanded at work for my inability to “multitask” at their standards, I had just made my first sale working from the home BECAUSE I did not multitask.
The final disadvantage of multitasking is the lack of freedom. As an entrepreneur, one of the keys to success is to focus on your one skill and hire someone else to do things you are not as skilled in. That cuts out multitasking and you are more productive, which is the advantage of focus of your main task and taking your time mastering it.
I have also realized that you can have several skills and gifts, but you can use one skill at a time until the project is done. Then move on to the next task. I don’t know your task and skillset, but this what works for me.
What should be done about it?
I am not saying to quit what you are doing. I am saying to find a balance or common ground by renewing your mind daily. Prayer/meditation is a good habit. Focus on positive outcome and do what you can a little at a time without overwhelming yourself with complaints from others and yourself about yourself. Do your best, but regardless of what others (including those in leadership) say, you do the best only you can be and take your time. Take a break when you need to.
Have a back up plan in place to focus and have your vision of it written down. Recite your vision and goals over and over each day or night. Back up with scriptures to recite as well.
Focus on one thing at a time. If you can not, then you know whether or not the job is for you. It may be for a season of time, but get positive knowledge that you may have attained from the job and use elsewhere if that is your skill and gift.
Have you ever struggled with multitasking that it interfered at your job? If so, now you know why. You were divinely tailored to be you and no one else. If you monotask, remember that this is just one of the traits of a true entrepreneur. If no ones else celebrates your monotasking abilities, you can; so celebrate you.
7 thoughts on “The Disadvantages of Multitasking”
Hi Michele I really learned a lot by reading your story on multitasking. You know even as a child we are told to hurry up and do this or do that at home or school or just playing with or friends. I didn’t realize how multitasking could cause so much stress on the body and mind. As an adult I been told on my job that if your not doing more then one thing then you’re not capable of doing the job. The or Manager say she move to slow or she can’t do more then one thing at a time. But it’s good to know that it’s best to do one task at a time so we can get the entire task or tasks done. I’m so glad I read your story today because it makes me feel much better knowing that it’s ok to do one task at a time so I don’t have chronic stress or even DIE because of multitasking all the time. Thanks
Hi, Kizzy. Thanks so much for sharing your comment. I was lead to write about this because I was pressured that day and have been told twice in several years by the same people that I need to multitask more. I didn’t respond to them about this so I researched it to see if what I was feeling was correct. I realized that yes I was right all along. I don’t share it on a job but I want those who have felt the pressures like I have to know the truth.
Multi-tasking is not how God made us. If you think about it, even God did a different job on a different day. He did not make man the same day he made other things or while He worked on other tasks. Then He STILL rested on the seventh day. Isn’t that something? Holy Spirit made me feel much better about how I am made and that I am a true entrepreneur made in God’s image, and so are you. Please share this post with others and thanks again for reading.
Read this article on multi tasking my eyes open this has been me all my life “multi tasking and I do it well, I have always come up with great ideas, but never stayed with just one project. Seems I enjoy sharing what God gives me to do/create 👀 but i want more
That’s great Margarine! I had to learn the hard way and took action. I’m glad you were able to learn sooner (now) than later. Thanks for sharing!
It was interesting to read! I believe that multitasking ruins our mental health and productivity. It’s a myth that it’s possible and doable, however, multitasking is always a game we lose.
Also, I came across a new article with some insightful ideas and recommendations on how to stop multitasking and avoid busyness for better efficiency, and am happy to share it with you and your readers https://blog.tmetric.com/the-myth-of-multitasking-7-unforgivable-sins-of-multitasking/
Thank you Max! Yes I agree. Ok thanks, I’d be glad to check it out!
Thank you so much for this article Michele, it’s a really lovely one and I enjoyed reading it.