Check out this NPR blog post discussing a new study about multitasking. It suggests that, in general, people aren’t very good at multitasking. Interestingly, people who think they are better at it are actually worst at it. The study’s justification was to address issues of texting and driving (hint: together, they’re bad), but I think it has a lot of other implications for work productivity.
Personally, I detest multitasking. It really does make my brain hurt. I think anything where our working memory is stretched to capacity can make us stressed out. I know a lot of people claim that they like it and work better that way, but I don’t believe them. Or maybe I just don’t understand them. I seem to be good at being aware of when my working memory is full and if someone tries to give me another job on top of that I can become quite cranky. I really prefer to work on one thing at a time, and only move on to the next task when the first one is completed.
But what’s relevant to this study is not whether or not I like multitasking, but whether or not I think I am any good at it. I’m going to go with…. “I’m awesome at it”, just in case my boss is reading and then will think that means I’m really bad at it and won’t give me any more tasks.