Posted by: corrinebuchanan | November 19, 2012

Multitasking: Efficent or Waste of Time?

Being able to multitask is often seen as a necessary skill set to have in our culture. I like to think that I am a strong multitasker. I juggle school with work and my home life. I continually make to do lists and work on multiple projects at a time. But at the end of the day I am often asking myself, “what did I actually accomplish today?”

When describing multitasking’s effect on people, Nicholas Carr writes that, “every time we shift our attention, our brain has to reorient itself, further taxing our mental resources” (pp.133). By living in a culture where multitasking is not only encouraged but is expected, it is difficult to break the cycle of taking too much on. This constant access to information creates opportunity for distraction and can cause individuals to overexert themselves to a point where their work suffers. Ideally, I would like to dedicate myself to one project or task at a time to ensure the highest quality of work, but I don’t see how this is even feasible in today’s culture. Our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions, and every task is a top priority. How can we not help but focus on multiple projects at  a time?

Is being a multitasker as important of a quality to have as we make it out to be? How would your work be different if you just saw one project through to completion before starting another? Is this even possible in today’s work environment?

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