Monday, March 26, 2007

Taking Multitasking to Task

Another report in the news urges us to focus, focus, focus. While I couldn't read the article in one sitting, and my mind wandered to three other ideas, I did read it. The Chicago Tribune story, by Steve Lohr quotes David Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan: "Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information."

Sorry - got interrupted.

As I was saying, I have noticed that multi-tasking and the constant effort to recover from interruption is fatiguing and results in getting less done.

Add up all the starting and stopping and you'll see why you're worn out and not sure what you should do next. If you ask yourself "What was I working on?" you suffer from task overload too.

My office phone line has been broken almost all week. It has nasty interference noises, sometimes rings like a fire alarm, sometimes like a dying bird. So until it is repaired, I have turned the ringer off and just check for voicemail every hour.

When you have a lot to get done, try turning off the phone and closing your email program for a few hours. I predict your productivity will soar.