Multitasking Is A Productivity Killer

Multitasking is a productivity Killer. Picked this up at a HR conference I was at last week. It was a theme during a couple of the presentations.

Multitasking as a competency is not the same as multitasking across projects and tasks during a day. That is good time management and the ability to prioritize what you work on.

The myth of multitasking, that you can do multiple things at the same time is a just that… a myth. Less than 10% of the world’s population is actually able to carry out two distinct tasks at the same time.

One of the speakers listed the Pros and Cons of multitasking:

  • Pros of Multitasking: Reduce Cost by having one person do the jobs of many people.
  • Cons of Multitasking: sense of being overburdened, stressed out, loss of focus, poor quality, high attrition, inflated sense of importance and value

As you can see not much comes from trying to force someone to do too much.


Back when I was an analyst with Wells Fargo, one of the keys to my success was that I didnt multitask when I had to focus on high priority projects. I would put my headphones on and block out the world. Often I would even close my Outlook and my browser. Giving 100% to a project for a few hours always led to a better finished product. And it feels awesome to have a sense of accomplishment.

I still do this. When Im focused in on a project I tell people I’m busy. I get away from distractions. And I focus in like a laser.

Multitasking is indeed a productivity killer and not falling prey to it is one of the reasons Im as successful today as I am.