human behaviour

Winning at Work: Does Multitasking Improve My Effectiveness?

Multitasking with technology is the norm for college students, even though one study found that the majority of students felt that multitasking and studying was a poor strategy. Studies on the impact of multitasking at work show that it is associated with lower efficiency. Researchers’ best estimate is that only 2.5 percent of people can effectively multitask, although many people think they can. To stop multitasking, you must make a real commitment because electronic devices are addictive. You should establish daily times to disconnect from electronic media to give your brain a rest, and don’t consider time spent alone thinking as wasted time. Practice mindfulness to fight off the urge to multitask; don’t use your devices within 60 minutes of going to sleep; and don’t text and drive. Finally, establish boundaries about using devices in team meetings and while studying.

Discussion Questions/Topics:

  • Do you believe that you are in the 2.5 percent of people that research demonstrates is able to effectively multitask? Justify your position.
  • What would you do if you were in the middle of a challenging project and one of your co-workers asks you to immediately address something else?
  • Do you feel that you spend more time multitasking for your personal life responsibilities or your professional responsibilities? Are there any differences in the effectiveness with which you multitask in the different arenas of your life?

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