Multitasking is evil because it kills your performance. Three reasons why, and three tips for dealing with it to be more efficient at work.
Multitasking is often cited as desirable, essential skill, especially for project managers, but it hurts your performance in many ways.
As Maria Matarelli and I wrote in the Personal Agility book, the rule of thumb is that each additional task costs you 20% of total capacity. So not only are you spreading yourself more thinly, there is less of you available to get work done. By the time you are working on 5 projects in parallel, 75% is wasted on meetings and other overhead! You only have 25% of your capacity available, and on average only 5% is available to each of those tasks. It can take you nearly 6 months to accomplish what you could have done in a week!
What can you do? Three suggestions:
For me, the question “If I only get one thing done, what should it be?” is most helpful as I plan and go through day. What works for you? How do you keep multitasking under control?
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