Does Multitasking Make You Less Efficient? I hope not!

Posted on June 24 2014

I read recently that people who multitask are actually less efficient than those who concentrate on one thing at a time. Can this be true?! I can't remember the last time I wasn't multitasking, and it's hard to accept that this makes me less efficient in life. I feel like my life demands that I be doing at least two things most of the time. Is this something unique to women or just to me? I feel like we're all doing it. I have a few different titles in life: mom, wife, communications coordinator at Miik, daughter, volunteer, friend...and all of these titles demand different things from me, and often simultaneously. It's a package deal -- I'm all of these things all of the time.

I'll give you an example and we'll see if you can relate. Imagine I'm at work (and just getting out the door to work can be a challenge with three kids needing different things of me and going to different places in the morning -- but that's what keeps life exciting!), and I am concentrating hard on a project. Maybe I'm composing an e-newsletter or researching a new inventory system or getting an order ready for one of our online customers. My fingers might be typing, but there is an endless to-do list running in the background. And every task reminds me of another one waiting to be done. When I'm at Miik, my mental to-do list is mostly work-related, but I also hear those little whispers from the mom side of my brain ("Tomorrow is show-and-tell day at kindergarten, don't forget to set the alarm so you can get up and do swimming registration before work, better stop at Loblaws on the way home and get some fruit or the kids will get scurvy...").

To me, this is just part of life. Even when I put my head on the pillow at night, I can't truly rest until I've made my mental to-do list. What did I accomplish today? Which unfinished items need to be added to tomorrow's list and which can wait a couple of days? I annoy my husband by multitasking even during times that are supposed to be relaxing. Why must I fold laundry why we watch Survivor? Because I feel more efficient that way!

Tell me, are you like this too? Do you feel multitasking makes you more or less efficient? The bad news is that I don't think I can change either way! What about you?


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