In Douglas Merrill’s Forbes article titled “Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work”, the contributing author makes various statements on the scenario-based appropriateness of multitasking. It is the opinion of the author that multitasking during simple, menial tasks such as folding clothes and speaking on the phone does not require a high order of mental capacity to execute; therefore, it is acceptable to multicast when engaging in these activities.
On the flip side, the author argues that hen tasks require brain engage and the goal is for long term memory capture, then multitasking does not allow short term memory to engage and therefore has no opportunity to commit to long term memory. The author also recounted a story of while employed at Google, many workers employed laptops during meetings to accomplish other work tasks during meeting times. This slowly led to the realization that those on their laptops diminished the effectiveness of the meetings due to lack of attention and engagement.
Soon the company began a strategy of laptop free tenting zones. The author’s ultimate message is that multitasking is not conducive to a successful work environment and has many potential dangers. I tend to agree with the author. Although I am not absent from engaging in multitasking in the workplace, I can say that my quality of work and the confidence in my work increases dramatically when I am allowed the luxury of focused time and effort. It is clear that Google identified that multitasking was a hindrance to the success of business, at least as it pertains to meetings.
The article did not offer rather support even though Google did change the work place rules to address this issue. While the article does remain tacit on other multitasking observances and also states that only a portion of meetings were deemed laptop free, the reader cannot assume either way that Google expects or categorically prohibits multitasking in the workplace. In Christine Rose’s The New Atlantis article titled “The Myth of Multitasking”, the author commits to a compelling argument against multitasking mostly supported by clinical research and cultural references.
Her article begins with a Lord in the sass’s offering advice via a letter to his son. The letter extols the virtue of the ability to focus and is the true mark of intelligence. The author then offers clinical information through functional MR. scans that details the fundamental flaws in learning through multitasking by noting the action of certain portions of the brain. Throughout the article, Rosen refers to multitasking as a sort of Adult Attention Disorder. She draws on work completed by DRP.
Edward Hallowed who coined the affects of multitasking as Attention Deficit Trait” (ADD) and further describes ADD as “purely a response to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live”. Rosen concludes the article with a question. Will humans simply adapt to the reality of multitasking by making it a part of our daily lives despite the repercussions? If so, humans may reap the rewards of information but may not realize the related wisdom. I also agree with this author. Her argument is clear and supported culturally and scientifically. Her logical discussion of the effects of multitasking are reasonable and ell laid out.
The author indicates that the work environment has changed by humans willingly adapting a less than favorable learning environment that may cost businesses through lost productivity. Through the author’s argument, I believe that she is implying that it is a general expectation from manager’s that multitasking is to be utilized to accomplish work tasks. I have many years of work experience and school under my belt. My experience
I can switch back and forth between many tasks with little consequence. However when high order thinking is required, I. E. Analyzing data, creating presentations, reading course materials, etc. , I find I am much more successful when I am afforded the opportunity to focus one task and then move on to the next. Sometimes after significant effort, I may switch work/school topics to give my mind a rest and pick up on another topic, but I would hardly refer to this as multitasking but rather strategic maidenhair. When I am required to multicast at work, I do find it rather stressful.
My capacities to think clearly, mitigate issues, and communicate effectively are greatly reduced. I oftentimes find myself mentally frustrated after long periods of multitasking and my ability to pivot to other tasks is greatly diminished. At times, this has had a serious, negative impact on my work performance. For instance, once I was juggling so many tasks that when a superior had a time-sensitive data request I forgot to record the need and subsequently did not provide the data. I did not even occur to me by day end that I had not accomplished this task.
The next day, my superior angrily appeared at my desk telling me to forget the data request since a meeting to discuss the data had already taken place. I obviously felt disappointed in myself and apologized to the superior. The most critical thing a supervisor can do to lead and manage employees in a multitasking environment is to teach employees how to prioritize and give them the latitude to push back on requests and clarify timeliness. If an employee can effectively prioritize his/her workload, then there may be a less of a need for a litigating approach as the employee tackles a task at a time in order of their importance.