If you’re reading this on a tablet while your mobile device is ringing and you’re secretly playing Words With Friends on your laptop, listen up.
According to a new study published in the journal Human Factors, multitasking is simply not effective. Here’s why: The average office worker is apparently interrupted six times an hour (six times!) and in turn, interruptions severely impact the ability to produce quality work.
If you’re working on deadline and you’ve been interrupted even once, you know how much that one little break can get you off track. So, yes the study showed the significance of disruptions when researchers asked two different groups of participants to pen essays.
Both groups were given enough time to write about assigned topics but one group was consistently interrupted as they tried to write.
As for the other group? They weren’t interrupted and were left alone to concentrate. You can guess what happened next — essay evaluators discovered a drop in quality essays produced by the distracted group.
Our takeaway? When working on something that requires in-depth thought and concentration, turn off the phones. Shut down email. And simply focus by blocking out external noise.
It makes sense, right? The amount of time it takes you to work on a task can be a fraction of the amount of time it takes you to work on it coupled with attempting to accomplish four other things in the process. Or even a quick question by a colleague or the sound of a ringing phone can throw you off track. Do what you need to do to get ONE job done, one step at a time. You’ll be so glad you did.