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Believing these 3 myths about multitasking may be ruining your productivity

Understanding how and when to multitask can help you get more effective work done

Source | | DIANA SHI

During a time when the boundaries between our work and our personal lives feel tenuous at best, multitasking feels like a natural solution.

Working from home means juggling Zoom calls and coworker Slacks and deadlines—not to mention interruptions from your kids or spouse or roommates. Sometimes it’s impossible to focus on just one task at a time. It can feel great to half-listen in a meeting while also messaging a teammate to get an update on that project. Look at you, getting twice as much done! But there are lots of times where multitasking can actually set you back at work.

More than just power-walking while chatting to a friend, or preparing dinner and listening to an audiobook, multitasking at work often involves attempting to complete two cognitively demanding activities simultaneously.

The ability to switch between tasks often makes you feel like you’re getting a lot done, but several studies have shown that this constant routine of switching gears isn’t an effective way to make progress and can take a toll on our brains. Not only can this habit sap your energy, but constant multitasking can make it seem more appealing, creating an addictive cycle.

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