The case against multi-tasking is building

An article, The Myth of Multitasking, in this month’s Management Today magazine, adds to the backlash against the frenetic task switching that has become so common in the past few years, as more and more communication channels open up alongside new mobile technologies. See my posts A challenge to the multitasking assumption and The Big Question: How should presenters address multitasking?

The article collects some fascinating opinions and data. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:

"Multi-tasking might look impressive, but it’s often just a muddle-headed displacement activity."

"It pays to look busy. Who isn’t in awe of the person who can speed-read a report, listen in on a meeting and keep an eye on their e-mails at the same time?"

"Multi-tasking works, right? Wrong. Very wrong. The great multi-taskers of our time turn out to be the ones who remember nothing and get the least done."

"What you give up when you work like that is depth. You give up the capacity to reflect, and any depth of emotion."

"Interruptions are a disaster for idea growth."

"Multi-tasking feels good because it releases dopamine."

"The cost of time lost recovering from informational interruptions is $1bn."

We have to get hold of this problem before we turn into a bunch of crazy, stressed-out air-heads.

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