Are You a Multitasker? - Here Are 9 Reasons to Stop Multitasking as an Agile Professional
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Multitasking can seem like a great idea. Preparing reports while replying to emails is the perfect use of time, right? Wrong. The problem with multitasking is that while you think you’re participating, you’re not fully present for any of the activities you’re simultaneously doing. Managing multiple tasks effectively is a challenge that hardly anyone can meet.
There are nine solid reasons why you should stop multitasking, especially as an agile professional. The very ethos of agile working is finding the most efficient way of working on tasks. Multitasking isn’t it, and here’s why.
1. Decreases Efficiency
The more tasks you undertake at once, the less efficient you are. Work on one task at a time, preferably in order of priority, and you’ll find that tasks are much quicker to complete, and you complete them to the best of your ability, rather than half-heartedly.
How to fix it: prioritize your projects effectively instead of trying to complete two smaller tasks at the same time.
2. Causes Stress
Think about it. With your mind whirring at a frenetic pace, thinking about completing projects constantly, you’re in a state of constant stress. Prioritizing your workload is a much better way of handling tasks, and you’ll experience less stress because of it.
How to fix it: set schedules for tasks. And if you’re in danger of stressing out, put that task aside and come back to it later when you’re in a better frame of mind.
3. Mistakes Happen
It’s inevitable. When our concentration levels aren’t at their peak, mistakes are bound to happen, which increases stress levels. It’s a vicious circle. Try to minimize the chances of distraction by eliminating other tasks circling around in your head.
How to fix it: focus on one task at a time and complete it with 100% effort to make fewer mistakes.
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4. Bad for Our Brains
Human minds can't multitask. Constant attention shifts lead to poorer cognition, poor concentration, and a less-than-ideal memory capacity, which is not what anyone wants. Whether you're implementing workforce management engagement solutions (what is WEM?), or working in inbound telemarketing, most productivity comes from performing the same thing again and over again.
How to fix it: allow time for creativity, communication, etc. Different times of the day lend themselves to different work, so find your most productive times and work to be as efficient as possible.
5. Priorities Slip
If you think that you’ve had a super productive day because you worked on several projects at once, you’re fooling yourself. And you’re probably losing sight of priorities. Multitasking doesn’t necessarily mean working on various projects simultaneously, however. Distractions, such as emails, phone calls, and co-workers, can add to the multitasking ethos.
How to fix it: mute your inbox for periods of time to avoid interruptions.
We’ve already mentioned that multitasking can cause an increase in stress. Worse than that, if multitasking continues, it can lead to extreme stress and burnout. Meaning that you’re not able to function properly to complete any tasks, let alone five at once.
How to fix it: take time for regular breaks to calm and quieten your brain.
7. Less Present
When you try to do other activities like setting up RealVNC’s remote desktop app for Mac during an important team Zoom call, you can’t give anything your complete attention. You might get away with it at first, but soon it’ll be spotted that you aren’t paying attention, and you’ll have to go to serious lengths to increase your visibility during meetings.
How to fix it: be as present as possible, and if you catch yourself browsing emails, stop immediately to break the habit.
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8. Creativity Drops
Being creative at work is essential. It’s incredibly difficult to unleash creativity while multitasking on several different projects, as this method of working doesn’t give the brain the space it needs to think creatively.
How to fix it: allocate creative time to get your imagination flowing when you know you won’t be disturbed.
9. Work Quality Suffers
Much like not paying full attention, the quality of your work is impacted when multitasking is your go-to method of working. Contact center quality assurance tools integrated into internet-based phone systems and telecommunication software will soon highlight poor quality customer service and projects. When work starts being impacted by multitasking attempts, employees are in danger of disciplinary action.
How to fix it: carefully review your completed projects to ensure accuracy and quality.
How to Avoid Multitasking
You can do a few things to avoid multitasking in an agile workplace. Check these out:
Create habits and follow productivity hacks to anchor your time effectively. Regular scheduled breaks and exercise sessions are examples of keystone habits that can help maintain work focus and strive for business agility in the workplace.
Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks
Identify the tasks that you can delegate, or at the very least, move down your priority list. Maybe some tasks can be automated by technology, which relieves the burden on everyone.
Consider putting your internal chat on mute when focusing on priority tasks to avoid getting interrupted. Avoid constantly checking your inbox, too, as this is a huge zapper of time and attention that you might not be aware of.
Just Say “No”
It can be tricky to say “no” to tasks that colleagues ask of you. But by managing your own workload effectively and prioritizing tasks, you can see if you have any spare capacity. If you genuinely don’t, calmly explain taking on that extra task would cause stress and for other projects to fall behind.
Hopefully, these nine reasons will be enough for you to stop multitasking today, except in truly exceptional circumstances. The multitasking trap is an easy one to fall into, and odd bouts of it can be manageable. However, multitasking is a very tempting work method and can lead to the problems mentioned above if it’s not nipped in the bud.
Once you stop multitasking, your work productivity and quality will improve, and you’ll have clearer focus at work with less stress and a better work-life balance. Now, isn’t that worth a shot?