The Danger Of Multi-Tasking
LAST week’s article mentioned not multi-tasking as one of the habits of highly productive event professionals. You probably will disagree with me if you are one of those event planners that believe strongly that multitasking is a great way to save time and to get more work done.
The truth is that multi-tasking is a time waster. Yes, you get your tasks done, but you are most likely not going to be at your best when you do more than one thing at a time, especially with tasks that require concentration.
Now you will say, “but Kemi, planning an event usually involves tasks like distributing invitations, arranging for food and drinks, selecting the speakers, booking and confirming venues, etc. which most of the times one is found doing two or more of those tasks at the same time”. I agree, absolutely.
However, you’ll agree with me that you can’t be very productive when you are holding a phone conversation with your event client while simultaneously sending a mail to your vendors about what they are expected to deliver at the event.
Multi-tasking can prove to be useful only a few times. Here are some of the disadvantages of trying to do more tasks than one at a time:
1. One or both of those tasks you are trying to do get poorly done. You end up making mistakes, have to re-do the work as well as create a bad impression about yourself of being sloppy and unorganized.
2. Tasks that require high level of concentration and reasoning are not suitable for multitasking because when multitasking, you cannot engage in any form of creative thinking. In fact, you are very prone to distractions and most times by stimuli which ordinarily wouldn’t have effect on a single tasker.
3. Another devastating effect of multitasking is that you switch from task to task but end up not finishing any. This results in loss of productivity, increased stress, as well as a feeling of dissatisfaction from an inability to regulate work habits.
4. This may not be easily noticed, but the truth is that you miss certain subtle opportunities when each task does not get your full attention. For example, if you are taking a phone call while being introduced to someone, you miss the chance to really connect with him and who knows, he might just be the one who would have brought you your most profitable event ever.
5. You also end up working more slowly and less effectively when you multitask. According to research by the American Psychological Association, swapping between tasks takes as much as 40% more time than single-tasking.
In summary, multi-tasking makes people less productive and less creative. We consistently perform better and faster when we do tasks successively rather than all at once. So my dear event planner, if you have hitherto been proud to describe yourself a great multi-tasker, I think it’s high time you began to do otherwise.
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