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Understanding the consequences of multitasking

From: Time Management Fundamentals

Video: Understanding the consequences of multitasking

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.

Understanding the consequences of multitasking

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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Time Management Fundamentals

52 video lessons · 70196 viewers

Dave Crenshaw
Author

 
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  1. 3m 31s
    1. Welcome
      51s
    2. Getting the most from this course
      2m 4s
    3. Using the handouts and exercise files
      36s
  2. 3m 35s
    1. Making a lasting change
      1m 44s
    2. Finding your personal motivation
      1m 51s
  3. 6m 16s
    1. Addressing the myth of multitasking
      3m 12s
    2. Understanding the consequences of multitasking
      3m 4s
  4. 7m 48s
    1. Understanding principle 1: Space
      2m 46s
    2. Understanding principle 2: Mind
      1m 47s
    3. Understanding principle 3: Time
      3m 15s
  5. 26m 17s
    1. Taking inventory of your gathering points
      2m 37s
    2. Narrowing your gathering points
      3m 46s
    3. Setting up an inbox gathering point
      2m 23s
    4. Working with a portable inbox
      2m 49s
    5. Getting the most from a notepad
      2m 35s
    6. Consolidating multiple email accounts
      2m 34s
    7. Consolidating multiple voicemail accounts
      2m 56s
    8. Establishing a wild card gathering point
      2m 47s
    9. Separating work and personal gathering points
      2m 21s
    10. Taking the next step toward controlling your space
      1m 29s
  6. 11m 24s
    1. Selecting your mind clearing options
      5m 13s
    2. Clearing your mind using mental triggers
      3m 23s
    3. Setting a mind-clearing schedule
      1m 54s
    4. Taking the next step toward keeping your mind clear
      54s
  7. 14m 2s
    1. Choosing the right calendar for you
      4m 4s
    2. Using your calendar effectively
      3m 55s
    3. Saying no to others
      3m 5s
    4. Saying no to yourself
      2m 58s
  8. 4m 21s
    1. Preparing for action
      4m 21s
  9. 14m 12s
    1. Preparing to gather
      2m 40s
    2. Gathering to your inbox: At your desk
      6m 30s
    3. Gathering to your inbox: Elsewhere
      3m 49s
    4. Dealing with full inboxes
      1m 13s
  10. 31m 2s
    1. Mastering the "what, when, where" processing system
      3m 11s
    2. Processing question 1: What is the next step?
      3m 22s
    3. Processing question 2: When will it be done?
      4m 33s
    4. Processing question 3: Where is its home?
      3m 49s
    5. Filing made simple
      4m 4s
    6. Processing your first inbox
      7m 27s
    7. Setting your processing schedule
      4m 36s
  11. 18m 31s
    1. Applying "what, when, where" processing to email
      1m 53s
    2. Setting up an email resource folder
      2m 58s
    3. Creating email rules or filters
      4m 14s
    4. Processing email
      5m 8s
    5. Processing email vs. checking email
      4m 18s
  12. 18m 1s
    1. Understanding "you time" vs. "work time"
      4m 9s
    2. Establishing "most valuable activities"
      2m 44s
    3. Identifying your most valuable activities
      3m 39s
    4. Budgeting time for your most valuable activities
      4m 11s
    5. Using your time budgeter
      3m 18s
  13. 1m 38s
    1. Maintaining your productivity gains
      1m 38s
  14. 3m 0s
    1. Dave Crenshaw on getting himself organized
      3m 0s

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