I often read stories about how multitasking is a myth because concurrent processing of activities impossibly divides our attention. In fact, multitasking is simply the process of switching from one task to another, and for most people, switching gears reduces efficiency and increases the chances of error. According to the American Psychological Association, research has shown that multitasking is part of a human’s “executive control” processes and occurs in two distinct, complementary changes:
- Goal Shifting -- When you decide you want to move to a new task
- Rule Activation -- When you turn off prior rules and activate the rules you need for a specific new task
Theses shifts may take only seconds but can add up to loss in productivity that costs as much of 40 percent of an individual’s time.
So if multitasking for more productivity is a myth, then how does an entrepreneur or busy team member get through the day, especially in a fast paced startup environment, constantly changing hats and processing a relentless flow of information? The solution is organizing and grouping similar activities together. Nowhere is this more clear than in our digital work.