I had a long term relationship with multitasking. We were always together. That is until I found out the deep dark secret it was hiding. Once I found out the truth, I just had to end it.

Now, I tell everyone I can about the secret. I don’t want you to be hurt by multitasking either, so I’m gonna fill you in.

Are you ready?

Multitasking is just an alias. Its real name is Task Switching. You see there is no such thing as multitasking. When you are working on multiple tasks “simultaneously” you are actually switching between each task. So basically you’re focusing on one thing then switching your focus to the next and so on. Each time you switch tasks, you have to refocus, which causes time loss each time you switch. The more complex the task, the more time loss there is.

So when you multitask to save time, you end up losing time instead. Here’s a simple test you can do to see the effects of multitasking or task switching. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now draw 2 horizontal lines on the page. One the first line write I am a great multitasker then on the second line write out the numbers 1 – 20. Use the stopwatch feature on your phone to time yourself as you write.

I AM A GREAT MULTITASKER

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

 

Ready? Go.

Easy peasy, right? That should have taken you around 20 – 25 seconds to write out.

Now I want you to draw two more lines. Again, you will time yourself. This time as you do the activity you will switch back and forth between writing the phrase and the numbers one letter or number at a time. For example, you would write the letter “I” on the first line then the number “1” on the second line. Then “A” on the first line and “2” on the second and continue in this manner until you have written out the phrase and number sequence.

Ready.

Set.

Go.

If you’re really swift in switching back and forth, then it should have taken you at least double the time, maybe even triple.

This was a very simple task. Just imagine the amount of time you might lose if you were to switch back and forth between more complex tasks.

It’s an eye opener, isn’t it? Hopefully it’s enough to encourage you to break things off with multitasking.