Multitasking: the art of messing up

August 9, 2018 10:01 AM Shikha Bahety


It takes me 15 minutes to walk to the gym. I see a lot people walking past me and everyone looks busy. Similarly, when I wait for my friend at the coffee shop, I observe lot of individuals conversing on their mobile phones which leads me to think if I had to start a new coffee place then it would be-- Coffee over cellphones.

Cellphones are addictive and we all attend to it these days, be it during bus rides, or at the airport waiting, we use the mobile for  finding out some important information or choosing the picture as our WhatsApp display or it could be as simple to pass time. There is something or another we keep doing and it has been a part of our lives. We realize yet ignore it.

We love to multitask. We might not recognize this but we do it often. I was not ready to accept it myself, so I analyzed my everyday routine. I was surprised to know that I want to do three different things at the same time, if not two, right from the start of the day. There has to be music playing while I research, some good audio book on the side when I cook, have conversations with friends and family while I walk. There have been moments when I walk, message and talk at the same time. I also realized the time I do not do this. I feel I am not making the most of the time. There are circumstances that I multitask for sure but for each one of them was shocking. What do you think about it? Does it reduce our concentration and make the activity slower? Does it make us miss the enjoyment of doing one sole movement? Does our mind need rest without having to multi-task too much?

Even during our time on the laptop, if we start doing ten different activities all at once, how efficient do we get? In everyday work, when a chat window beeps, with an incoming message, we swing over it, and email notification. The focus changes and is more of polling behavior. Do we actually forget the first task what we had planned when we are browsing for ten different information?

All of us get our answers if we constantly remind ourselves and trace our actions in a day. Doing all the work at once is an art but it can be unhealthy too. There are studies which say it contributes to lower achievement levels, and add, we are task switching, and it is always better to finish one task before moving to another. While there are some jobs that can run parallel, multitasking is meant certainly for them.

Overall, one person should not do more than one thing at the same time; the quality of the job might deteriorate. So, multitask where you can, shift when you have to, and put your emphasis on the job that you are performing for the utmost results.

Bahety is a Chartered Accountant and Client Servicing Executive at JWT Thompson Nepal and Founder Member of Greener KTM Drive.

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