Working with people of absolutely different life positions, professions, ages, I notice that there is something similar among them. This is what we call multitasking – the ability to perform several actions at one point in time (conditionally) qualitatively. This quality can be seen in the requirements for certain professions.

We can meet the phenomena of multitasking in everyday life. But do not confuse the ability to combine purely physical actions, the implementation of which can be brought to automatism, with mental labor.

Multitasking vs Concentration

Reading the relevant literature, we can conclude that multitasking in industries related to mental work only harms. And it harms quite a lot. “Spraying” on tasks, we try to hold several contexts in our single-threaded brain at once, which leads to weakening of concentration, deterioration in productivity, and quality of what we produce.

The main conclusion that I made: multitasking is the lack of multitasking or simply the inability to concentrate. Many here argue: ‘With multitasking, everything is ok. I can just do several things at once.’ But it’s not always true.

How to concentrate

In our realities, a person spends a significant part of the working day switching. This time is almost imperceptible. If you stand next to a person with a stopwatch, you are unlikely to notice the lost time. Losses occur when slowly diving back into work, they are a direct result of the interrupted flow.

If on average an incoming phone call takes 5 minutes, and your re-entry period to the stream is 15 minutes, the total cost of such a call, calculated in the lost stream time (direct work), is 20 minutes. A dozen phone calls will consume half a day. A dozen other interventions – and now the working day has disappeared.

Notifications: Be aware!

Finally, we came to the scourge of our everyday life – notifications. They everywhere. Each application strives to notify you. About everything: new messages, events in the group, invitations + a ton of spam. And everywhere: in the application itself, in the form of system notifications, to the phone, to the clock, to the mail (which will also generate a notification). And this is not a phone call every 10-30 minutes, giving a ghostly hope for the state of the stream. No! On average, it flies every couple of minutes.

According to studies, if a person noticed that he had received some kind of warning, he would no longer be able to work calmly and concentratedly – the brain would constantly “remind”: “Hey, you have something unread there – what if something important ?!” Even if the sound is turned off, we respond to the icon ‘unread’.  Our brain and our subconscious are watching!