Phone calls, checking emails, baking rolls: efficiency or stress?
Multitasking from the perspective of an employer:
+ one employee works for two
+ instead of 3 employees 1 employee is sufficient
+ lower costs, higher profits
Multitasking from the perspective of an employee:
– lightning fast switching and permanent stress
Whereas in the past, work areas were generally more differentiated, employees were able to concentrate on their central area of responsibility: Baking bread rolls, cutting hair, processing documents. Today, the working day usually begins before work.
Immediately after getting up, the first emails are called up on the smartphone, the first calls are answered and, in addition, the focus is on road traffic. The boss comes into the office with the first questions, while emails are checked for the second time this morning and the colleague across the street briefly asks a question.
Multitasking – as positive as the word sounds – is actually stimulus satiation in everyday life. Not being able to finish a task, not being able to find peace, first getting one job done and then concentrating on the next: The brain is in a constant state of flux here.
The attention can no longer be bundled but must be distributed evenly. Not only the ability to concentrate suffers from this, but also efficiency. The calculation is simple: 100% divided by 2 is 50%.
Let’s just take it easy and do it in order: The contradiction to everyday working life
The modern world of work demands multitasking skills from every employee. The reason for this is the growing workload. During a telephone conference check emails, coordinate appointments and quickly send a text message home that it will be late again today.
The reason for the increase in multitasking is primarily the increase in modern means of communication. These require prompt processing. Anyone who does not receive an answer within 30 minutes of sending an e-mail should, as a precaution, ask by telephone. This increases the pressure on the employee to handle this correspondence promptly, even if there is actually no time for it.
How to avoid multitasking in the world of work
For the benefit of your health and also the quality of your work, you should reduce daily multitasking back to monotasking. Learn to set priorities. For example, get into the habit of first completing the task you have set yourself and only then checking your emails. Distinguish important tasks from unimportant ones and learn to say no when a colleague wants to impose one of his appointments on you.
If you are working on demanding tasks that require your full concentration, switch off email and SMS sound and turn on the answering machine. No call can be so important that you can’t call back an hour later.
The work pressure does not decrease by doing several tasks at once. On the contrary: you will become tired and unfocused more quickly and thus also permanently slower.