Multitasking – Productivity Killer or Time Gainer?

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Wendy Dessler

Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMamaWendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their

audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

How to Ruin Your Productivity

If it’s your goal to be as productive as possible throughout the day, and you want to maximize your efforts, the worst thing you could ever possibly do is multitask.

How so? Everybody says multitasking is the best way to be productive.

For starters, when you multitask you are not focusing on the task at hand to the best of your abilities.

As a matter of fact, people that continuously switch from one task to another tend to do very sloppy and poor work. Or at best, their work is adequate but it’s never really spectacular.

Another interesting fact about multitasking is that it has the ability to damage your memory. Yes, by constantly switching from one task to another, you are making it harder to remember things over the long run.

Believe it or not, the human mind can only fully focus on two different things at once. But to put forth your best effort, you really should only focus on one thing.

So, if you’re looking to become a lot more productive in your work and personal life, avoid multitasking.

Here are a few of the most important reasons why.


Your Performance Suffers While Multitasking

Clifford Nass, a researcher from Stanford, performed a study in 2009. During this study, he tested 262 college students in various experiments.

The purpose of these experiments was to test how people did while using their memory while switching tasks.

Most people believe that they work better when multitasking. The researcher believed that people only were slightly better than those who didn’t multitask.

Guess what he found out?

Clifford Nass found out that out of the three tasks given to his experiment subjects, the multitaskers failed at all of them.

Here’s the worst part…

At one point in the experiment, he had well-established multitaskers focus on a single activity. Because of the way that their brains are now wired, they were even less effective at the single task when compared to those that do not multitask.

You Aren’t As Productive When Multitasking

Contrary to popular belief, people just aren’t as productive as they should be when multitasking.

A study in 2001 taught us that participants multitasking wasted significant time switching from one task to another.

And as the tasks became more and more complex, the participants lost more and more valuable time as they tried to refocus their thoughts on each new, more difficult project.

One researcher went so far as to say that we could lose as much as 40% of our productivity when switching between tasks.

Instead, those looking to increase their productivity should focus on one task at a time and use time tracking software like Clockspot to measure their output.


Your Overall Output Decreases While Multitasking

George Mason University researchers in Washington did a study to discover how repeated interruptions had an effect on overall working ability.

In this study, participants were asked by the researchers to write essays. These essays were based on a number of different random topics.

The study participants were then put into two different groups.

In one group, the participants of the study experienced multiple interruptions while they were writing their random essays. During these interruptions, they were asked to perform a different, random task.

In the second group, the study participants did not experience any interruptions at all while writing random essays.

The findings of this study were very enlightening.

For the group of people repeatedly being interrupted, their writing scored low in composition and quality.

For the uninterrupted group, they scored much higher in quality in composition.

Finally, the group experiencing interruptions also wrote fewer words than the uninterrupted group.



Multitasking is the perfect way to ruin your productivity. We highly recommend focusing on a single task to improve your quality and overall output at work.

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