Wednesday, July 30, 2014

So you think you can multi-task

A friend of mine was excitedly discussing her job with a high-tech firm.  "Our meetings are so great and vibrant.  While the sessions are going on, we are all on our computers multi-tasking.  It's so efficient!"

Well, no.  There's a lot of evidence that constant interruptions do not improve efficiency and that they also impair quality.  Here's a recent example, published in Human Factors.  It focused solely on interruptions during the course of writing and concluded:

Our research suggests that interruptions negatively impact quality of work during a complex, creative writing task. 


Anonymous said...

And the reason why you'll never be able to persuade this person that multi-tasking is not a good thing is confirmation bias, which is nigh on impossible to eradicate, hence, the constant belief that multi-tasking is good.

Paul Levy said...

So true! Excellent point!

David Joyce MD MBA said...

It speaks to the quality of the meeting dynamics that they had time and attention bandwidth to focus on something other than the meeting content. Bad meeting dynamics are a major factor in productivity loss in most companies.