Why You Get Less Done When Multitasking
In theory, multitasking is supposed to help you get more things done in less time. After all, you’re doing two or more things instead of one, so that leads one to conclude that more is actually being accomplished. Computers multitask every day. It’s what allows us to have more than one app open on our phones and computers at the same time. Multitasking is great right?
However, for most humans, it doesn’t usually work out the way we intend. Usually, when multitasking, you end up getting a lot done—a whole lot of nothing. We’re going to share with you why multitasking may not be the way to go.
Multitasking Kills Your Productivity and Reputation
When you have multiple things to do and very little time to do it, you’ll need to be focused to get them done in time. Deadlines can put extreme pressure on people. You simply can’t do twenty things and once and do a great job at all of them. Some things will be done better, while others will suffer from a lack of attention to detail.
Sometimes we feel so pressed to get things done that we make the mistake of cutting corners in our work. This leaves us prone to making more mistakes down the line. Many developers who often bite off more than they can chew usually resort to outsourcing the rest of the work that they can’t handle.
However, if the work of the person you’re outsourcing from isn’t at par with your own then that will have a negative impact on your reputation. Outsourcing isn’t a bad thing mind you, but rushing a job and outsourcing just to meet a deadline doesn’t always end well. Make sure you don’t take on more work than you can handle. Focus your efforts on completing one task, doing it well, and then moving on to the next.
Horrible Time Management
Multitasking pretty much destroys your concept of time. If you have a set time to get something done, it’s going to be very hard to accomplish that task if you’re trying to do ten things at the same time. It’s easy to lose track of time just doing one thing. Doing tons of things at once usually makes it harder to remember to check the clock.
Time waits for no one. When your mental resources are split across doing multiple things, your awareness of the time can easily get lost. Don’t fall into the multitasking trap the way most people do. Focus your efforts on one thing, then move to the next. You’ll get more done in the end.
Quality of Work Suffers
When you multitask, you’re basically losing your focus. Your attention is being taken from one specific thing and is split across two or more things. Imagine if you’re trying to study for a test and watch your favourite TV show at the same time. For most people, watching TV is more enjoyable than studying for a test, thus it will get more of their immediate attention than studying will. At best they will probably only study during commercials until the show is finished.
While they could probably tell you everything about the show they just watched but not about the subject they’ve “studied”.
Likewise, as a developer, if you’re writing code and doing other things at the same time, you’re not able to focus the way you need to on your code. It’s a pretty good probability that you’re going to have more bugs in your code due to this.
With all this being said, when you split your focus across multiple tasks, you end up getting a little bit of everything done, instead of actually finishing one or two tasks completely. In the end, you pretty much got a lot of nothing done. Multitasking can seem like a great thing to do, but it tends to hurt more than it helps.
Try focusing your attention on one thing, getting it done, then moving to the next. Build a checklist of items and check things off as you complete them. This will help you to become more productive and save you some sanity in the long run.