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Let's cover the three effects of switchtasking. Remember, when someone thinks they're multitasking what they're really doing is switching back and forth rapidly between tasks. They aren't really multitasking; they're switchtasking. Number one, this is the most obvious: when you multitask, the amount of time it takes to complete things increases. I'll give you a brief example. I once worked with a business owner and asked her to tell me of a recent time when she was multitasking. She described a situation where she was doing three things at once: typing an email, talking to her assistant, and talking on the phone.
She spent a total of one hour doing all three of these things at the same time. We all know that multitasking person who doesn't pay attention to us. Well, finally she went out into the hall and took the phone call. To finish the call, it took her 7 minutes. She went back in to talk to her assistant. It took her 3 minutes. She sat down and answered the email. It took her 3 minutes. In short, when she tried to do all three things at the same time, it took her an hour and she accomplished none of them. But when she did them one at a time it took her less than 15 minutes, and she completed all of them successfully.
This is where that feeling comes from at the end of the day when you put your feet up on the couch and you're so exhausting. You've been working hard, but what did you accomplish? You've been juggling and jumping between tasks, not finishing anything. Number two is quality. When you switch tasks, the quality of your work decreases; or in other words, the likelihood of mistakes increases. How many times have you seen someone been delegated a very clear instruction? Something that's just obvious. Maybe you even gave it to them in writing, and they still didn't get it right.
Is it because they're stupid? No, it's a symptom of multitasking. And the final perhaps less obvious, but more powerful effect of switchtasking is its impact on your stress levels. Whenever you introduce switchtasking, even the simple list of activities becomes highly stressful. Even with so many timesaving devices, we are more stressed out and more starved for time then we've ever been in the history of the world.
This is because of a cultural acceptance of multitasking. So let me recap. The three effects of multitasking, or switchtasking, are the amount of time it takes to complete things increases, the quality of work you do decreases, and your stress levels increase dramatically. Everything in this course is designed to reduce the switches in your day and reduce the effects of switchtasking.
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