The most efficient multi-tasker is the human body. Even while at rest, there are hundreds of things going on inside of your body beside the main functions of heart beat and breathing. Depending on the health of the person, they don’t have to remember to breathe, nor do they have to remember to make their heart beat. These are part of the autonomic system. These function even when a person is asleep or unconscious .
However, the society and the workplace would have you to believe that you are capable of doing 17 things at once. There was even an old “In Living Color” skit which portrayed a man as having 13 jobs. The joke was, when he died, there were 13 job openings. . . . . . . .
Perhaps it was me but back then, I didn’t find that funny. Now, even less so. . . . .
In reality no man or woman can do that many tasks at once. You may be a very busy person and have to a certain number of things a day, but you can’t do all at once.
Please refer to the following link. It may be dated but it is very accurate:
Web Md Article on Multitasking.
Scientists will tell you that the longest the human mind can stay focused on a task is 7-10 minutes. After that, if one is not mentally disciplined to remain focused, all bets are off.
What happens in multi-tasking, is break the concentration of a person on what they are doing, to give them what you want done. By the time they finish your task and go back to their task, they’ve forgotten what the heck they were doing in the first place!
Has that ever happened to you? Yep! It has to me. Until I said the magic words: “Please give me 15 minutes and come back. It’ll be ready by then.” otherwise nothing will be done. That gives me enough time to finish what I’m doing first
Scientists and doctors have also discovered that the more tasks you do at once, the less efficient you become. Say you start off with two tasks, and someone brings you something to add, then another. Your efficiency level will immediately drops, even though you may be an expert in said tasks.
I believe this is the sole reason why there is so much inefficiency in the workplace today. Too many places of employment (private and public) are requiring one employee to do the work of ten. I feel, if you want me to do the work of ten people, you should pay me ten salaries. But, you know that aint gonna happen. So they continue to, as my late Mom used to say: “Work you like a rented mule.”
Therefore the only avenue left to us to stop the madness is to get off the multi-tasking treadmill. If you’re not in the military engaging the enemy, or fireman, policeman, EMT, Nurse, Doctor, etc, they need to “Ice that down.” They don’t have to have it, right now!