Multitasking to nowhere - Neuroscientists say singletasking is more productive!

Recent brain research cited in a recent article from McKinsey Quarterly shows that multitasking works only when the tasks are menial (e.g. chewing gum and walking). When a person tries to juggle tasks that demand a modicum of creativity and logic, he’s pretty much hopeless.

In one study, participants took 30 percent longer to complete parallel tasks and made twice as many errors as those who checked off one task at a time. And a Harvard Business School study found that multitasking stifled innovation: people with fragmented workdays were less creative than those who had fewer distractions.

When neuroscientists look at functional MRI scans, the picture is pretty clear: we stink at multitasking. When we try to do two relatively complex things at once—a back-and-forth that requires constant cognitive readjustment—our brains get overwhelmed and slow down to a crawl.

The remedy is obvious (but tough to implement): Reduce your information intake, concentrate on one task at a time, cut down on workday meetings, and make sure to silence your cell phone when you want to get something accomplished. And if you’re in a leadership role at your company, you may need to get better at delegating.

Wondering how you’re ever going to quit your multitasking habit? Turn off your gadgets, close your door and think about it…

To read the McKinsey Quarterly article, click here: