The Downside of Multitasking

multitaskerOne of the long-standing assumptions about leadership in today’s wired and global economy is the critical importance of multitasking.  With information coming at us through email, RSS, Twitter, smart phones and the like, the ability to perform multiple actions at once, quickly prioritizing tasks and making decisions, would seem to be an important contributor to leadership success.  However, the more this vaunted “skill” comes under scrutiny, the more doubts there are about the correlation between multitasking and good leadership. 

The most recent assault comes from a study published by Stanford University that discovered multitaskers are not better than unitaskers.  Writing about multitaskers in New York Times, Ruth Pennebaker recently summed it up:

They don’t focus as well as non-multitaskers. They’re more distractible. They’re weaker at shifting from one task to another and at organizing information. They are, as a matter of fact, worse at multitasking than people who don’t ordinarily multitask.

This research echoes my own experience with multitasking – namely that it is difficult if not impossible to do effectively.  In addition to being incompetent, many multitaskers run the risk of alienating their peers and subordinates.  Daniel Goleman and others have demonstrated the importance of emotional intelligence in a leader.  One of the critical components of emotional intelligence is the ability to listen to others and “be present.”  It is very difficult to be present for your employees and customers when you’re talking on the phone while checking email at the same time.

With the growing popularity and ubiquity of technology, the critical leadership skill that is missing today is the ability to concentrate on one task and to authentically be present to those around you.  I believe it is easier to slip into reactive multitasking mode then it is to have the presence of mind to block out what is not important and to focus on the emotional leadership skills that allow us to collaborate with others and inspire employees to do their best.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules produced a series of videos on why multitasking is ineffective:

how to read spirometer test resultsEDAP continues to innovate, making it more attractive as FDA approval is awaited. The company’s new Focal One device uses robot assisted non invasive surgery along with continuous imaging to facilitate all aspects of treatment. A physician simply has to highlight the targeted cancerous region, begin treatment and monitor the fake oakleys progress with the ability to modify treatment in real time if necessary.. SIMON: Yeah. We have to note, while you and I and millions of people are getting all excited about the playoffs, just another dark shadow over football this week. A report released from a team at the National Institute of Health scientists, who found that Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, former linebacker, did in fact suffer from brain disease likely caused by hits to the head. Make the appropriate adjustments here, settle yourself right back down again, put cheap oakleys another round in, stay dead center on the target no matter where you hit. The most important thing is keeping this gun stable, solid, make sure you get good oxygen, another shot Cheap Football Jerseys assuming you did everything right you should be real close to dead center. Depending on your loads, your gun’s condition you may never get one whole group at 100 yards but if you practice you can’t help but get better.. People who attend live games often want to remember exactly what happened when they saw their favorite teams in person. Sometimes games slip from people’s memories. Ticket stubs, game day programs, and the NBA collectibles sold at concession stands make excellent keepsakes for basketball fans. By selling these slower growth stations, we can focus on the larger markets that are showing some real growth, thanks to cheap oakleys sunglasses the successful reformatting and programming changes we’ve undertaken. Our top stations nationwide did very well in the second quarter and we expect they will continue to do so, given our new strategy. Our current intention is to use the cheap jerseys proceeds from the divestiture to buyback shares.. In the same episode, George plays Trivial Pursuit with the boy in the bubble, and on what would be ray ban outlet the winning question for the boy, George discovers a misprint that saves his ass. The answer was supposed to be “Moors,” but they misspelled it as “Moops” on the card. That triggers a heated argument that just simply wouldn’t last more than 10 seconds today. I just wanted to recommend that also, BTW, great tut. .. “I think there’s a lot of consequences that come along with this. There’s a lot of people that don’t want to have this conversation,” he said. “They’re scared they might lose their job. Another man has a Honda in his driveway. The neighbors see a cheap ray bans Honda and those passing by see a Honda. Every time he looks out he sees a Porsche Every time he gets in his Honda he thinks a Porsche The truth is that he has and drives a Honda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *