A story is told of a manager who wanted to focus on quite a number of things simultaneously without delegating responsibilities. At the end of the day, he fell sick, lost his health and ultimately his job because the management of the organization he worked for felt he wasn’t performing optimally. He was advised times without number that there was no point having subordinates and wanting to the organization’s duties all alone. When he seemed to be adamant, he was dismissed.

The story above is to highlight the dangers of the evil known as multitasking. Multitasking is the practice or capability of handling more than one task at a time. It is a term used in machine learning and artificial intelligence, but it been used and practised by humans nowadays. It can be likened to a fable I once read about of a cook who had a single pot and wanted to cook several varieties of food at the same time. Having been advised by colleagues to focus on one meal at time, her refusal cost her the pot, raw food items and she lost several customers who were patronising her.

This is all in a bid to explain the cankerworm known as multitasking. The cankerworm has eaten deep into the human nature and in large scale organisations, and according to health experts, some diseases are associated with it. Many people believe that they are super humans and hence, they can function like computer systems, not knowing that it is a wishful thinking and not something that can materialise.

There are several examples of multitasking. Some available ones we see notice are: calling and driving at the same time, reading and watching television, listening to musical lyrics while attempting to cros a busy road. Others include: sending mails during meetings, talking on the phone while watching a television and others.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because the brain is designed by nature to focus on one thing at a time. When one tries however to do two things at once, the brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. Other ways health hazards of multitasking include the following:

  1. It can lead to memory loss which could also cause dementia
  2. It causes high rate of distraction which can also affect productivity
  3. It can cause injury to the brain which can lead to madness
  4. It can lead to low rate of assimilation and intelligence quotient

What then are practical ways to avoid multitasking?

  1. Focus on one task at a time
  2. Have a scheduler or planner where all tasks are arranged in their order of priority
  3. Avoid working when stressed as this could affect the brain muscles
  4. Avoid procrastination and do the right things at the right time.

I believe you wouldn’t want to be like the characters I told you in the stories above, then its time to stop multitasking and start prioritising and focusing one task at a time. Gracias.

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