With the rapid development of technology, multitasking as mode of operation has spread like an oil spill and has become the norm. Computers enable this as they can have many different applications open at the same time. Users jump from email to chat to an ERP transaction and so on. Increasing workloads stimulate multi-tasking in an effort to juggle through the work day.
More and more productivity experts advocate to have only a few critical tasks to do each day and to do them first thing, one at the time. Some go as far as even recommending to shut of any distraction like internet, email, phone, chat. The underlying idea is that focused work on one task without jumping around will increase productivity. All those that swear by this approach will tell you that their output in quantity and quality has increased a lot. I tend to agree to this - have applied this and found it very beneficial. Does require discipline though!
On the one side, we have multi-tasking and on the other, single tasking. Which way is the right way?
Somewhere in the middle - between the two extremes - can we find good multi-tasking. So how to define that... Well, good multi-tasking means I have more than one task, yet just enough to not run out of work most of the time (we can;t plan for each exception).
Many project tasks have a dependency. If I only have one task assigned and need to wait, my productivity will likely come down. To make sure i can utilize my time well, i must know the most important task to work on and have maybe two or three tasks assigned so that I can continuue working if one of the tasks has to wait for someone or something.
Not all multitasking is bad. Doing it right will actually increase productivity. Just make sure the decision rules what to work on and when are clear to all.
In this section we will frequently add short articles on different topics related to business, processes improvement, aiming to provide insights from a slightly different angle. To provoke your thoughts.