Are humans really capable of multitasking? Are some better than others? Are women much better than men? Effectively, when it comes to complicated tasks which require a high degree of concentration, none of us can do it properly unless we are completely focused at it, one task at a time.
A recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly (Source: The Myth of Multitasking – Psychology Today). Evidently, our brain cannot operate like a computer processor. We are not an Intel chip, we do not have a quad core CPU which is designed to manage and process multiple tasks at the same time. We only got one brain, a single Centralized Processing Unit, and whether it has small or large capacity, there is still only one of it.
As much as multitasking became a buzz word in the workplace, as much as recruiters like to use it, and as much as employees claim they have it, it is time to question whether this is the most efficient way to produce great results and get things done. Bare in mind that in some jobs making mistakes can be critical. Whether it’s involving old-school machinery or high-tech applications, we can either lose a finger or cause a major loss of reputation to the company we work for. Mistakes are avoidable if we follow a process and we do it right.
My humble advice to any new starter at any job, no matter how much experience they bring with them, is as simple as this:
- Do only one thing at a time
- Give it your full attention
- Make it your own from start to finish
- Do it right
- Get it done, finish it off
- Move on to the next thing
Sounds reasonable? Well, give it a go and let us know what you think.