Multitasking used to be a workplace badge of honor. I do it, you do it, we all do it. But it leads to profound inefficiency.
Part of the problem is we think we multitask well and can achieve more – but the fact is we suck at it. (oh and just for the record, experts say women and men are “equally bad” at multitasking!) “Our brains aren’t hardwired to perform two actions concurrently. When we attempt to juggle multiple tasks, our brains have to turn off one set of rules for the old task and turn on a different set of rules for the new one.
This switching takes time, reducing productivity, especially among those who multitask on a frequent basis”. And we make puerile mistakes … that sickening feeling you get when you accidentally hit "reply all", broadcasting a private message to a much larger group.
How to stop multitasking? Be disciplined with distractions, if you’re in open plan put headphones on; turn off email, phone and intra-office notifications; stick to your to-do list and prioritise the most challenging tasks; schedule a break - our brains cannot focus non-stop without a break.