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Multitasking is a Myth and you are Better Served by Time Management

By Office Space TorontoIn standard27th June, 2013

Time management is one of those skills that they really do not teach you in school. It is one of those courses they do not offer at most colleges. But if you expect to survive, you have to learn. It doesn’t matter how intelligent or book-smart you are – if you cannot organize information, you’ll have a hard time putting it to use.

One of the younger guys who works for a software company that has an office rental Toronto at our business centre was in the 18th floor kitchen a few months back and through casual conversation with me, mentioned one of his favorite Telsec blogs was the one called “Don’t Overpack or Underdress for Business Travel.” He had read it and it reminded him of some the stuff he loves from Lifehacker (currently one of the most popular blogs in the world). He went on to mention that Lifehacker is how he learned about productivity and time management.

The way that younger people are differentiating themselves in today’s workplace is to demonstrate their ability to handle information and manage their time. The first thing they point out is that multitasking is a myth. As with any other self-help process, we have to first admit to ourselves that multitasking is bad and that time management is more effective in increasing productivity.

In an effort to boost productivity, many of us try to do multiple things at once. We make ourselves believe that we get more done when we do more than one thing at a time. In actual fact, it makes us less productive and more prone to create work that is beyond our ability and actually costs us time instead of creating it – because we have to spend more time correcting errors and problems.

Several workplace studies have found that multitasking can actually result in us wasting time rather than saving it. The reason that multitasking doesn’t work is because humans are not able to actually focus properly on more than one task at a time. We believe we can, so try to multitask in an attempt to get more done, but end up being more inefficient.

For example, trying to juggle two tasks at one time may overload our mind and causes stress and frustration. Dealing with multiple things at once makes us feel overwhelmed, drained and frazzled, causing even more stress. The biggest problem with multitasking is that it can lower the quality of our work – we try to do two things or more things at once, and the result is that we do everything in a mediocre way compared to focusing properly on each task in turn. Instead of trying to multitask, try to better manage your time. Here are a few tips to make you better at managing your work:

Don’t leave e-mail sitting in your in box. If the message needs more thought, move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference, print it out or put it in a reference folder. If it’s about a meeting, move it to your calendar. The critical thing is that you want to take action on an e-mail as soon as you read it, so that you are only touching it once – and it is not causing you to spend more time than if you just handled it when you first opened it.

Before you open your e-mail, check the most important things on your to-do list and get them done first. This works best if you spend a few minutes at the end of the day to organize the first things you have to do when you get into the office the next day.

Hold off on checking your e-mail again. Didn’t you just check it 5 minutes ago? The top time-managing coaches tell people to manage and schedule their e-mail interaction and not let it rule when you are interrupted.

Again, remember that when you take that break from work to read e-mails and peer onto our Google Plus page or our blog, you have a chance to win $100 gift card by making a comment on that blog.