The High Cost of Multitasking
By Alex Tanglao, Last updated: 2021-11-10 (originally published on 2017-11-16)
High cost of Multitasking – we are all guilty of it. Sending a quick text message during a board meeting, chatting with your colleague while keying in timekeeping records or perhaps using Facebook while reviewing payroll records. No doubt we are all used to multitasking, after all, you to get more tasks done within the same span of time – sounds pretty efficient right?
Likewise, we have all heard about the downsides of multitasking. However, did you know it actually costs us more than you think? According to the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks (multitasking) can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time. That is almost a half’s drop of your efficiency simply when you try and juggle several tasks at once!
Here are some other negative impacts when you try and multitask within the workplace.
1. You take 50% longer to accomplish a single task
Given that multitasking would cost you almost half of your productive time, it is only expected that you will require to pay back at least half of that time in order to get your work done. And here, we are referring to completing a single task. Multiply that by the numerous deadlines and tasks that you have to meet. You end up spending more time on your work when you try to complete all them simultaneously.
2. You end up making up to 50% more errors
Making mistakes is generally frowned upon within the workplace. With the fact that you potentially might end up making up to 50% more errors when multitasking, it is best to stay focused and complete one task at a time. This is particularly crucial when you are involved in critical roles, such as dealing with employees’ salaries or payroll. One small miscalculation as a result of other distractions can be a costly mistake to the organisation. Of course, a simple solution would be to automate these critical roles. But do remember that even with automation, human error can and still do occur.
Related reading: 6 things you can do right now to improve workplace productivity
3. Heavy multitasking can temporarily lower IQ up to 15 points
A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experience a decline in IQ scores, which were similar to what one would expect if they were to stay up all night. Essentially, IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8 year old child. So the next time you attempt to complete several tasks at once, remember that your ability might be diminished to the point that even a young child can complete that same task for you.
4. It adds on to your stress levels
While juggling several tasks can help you get more work done, it might not all be 100% accurate work. And when your boss asks you to redo, it simply contributes to your overall stress level as you try to complete multiple items at once and making sure that they are all well-executed.
If you are prone to multitasking, it is definitely a habit that you do not want to indulge. It clearly shows that multitasking impedes and reduces the quality of your work. Moreover, allowing yourself to juggle several tasks at one go simply fuels any existing difficulties you have with concentration and attention to detail.
This a guest post by RenQun Huang of Gpayroll. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Zegal may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Zegal here.
Gpayroll is an easy to use, self-run online payroll service that will redefine and revolutionize the payroll industry. Its intuitive and automated system will help business owners focus on their core business without the hassle of managing payroll.
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