Is Multitasking an Effective Form of Time Management?

By Youfeng (Gloria) Pan, Staff Writer

Have you ever got caught in a situation where you are listening to the lecture and writing an email? Are there times that you are talking to a friend on the phone and reading an article? Have you ever driven a car while listening to an audio book? Have you ever opened a webpage for one task and soon moved on to another one, eventually taking longer to complete both of them?

Nowadays, information is more ubiquitous than ever and businesses have been asking for more and more from its employees, the combination of which drives us crazy to get more tasks done, to gain more knowledge, and to wish we could extend the day to 30 or 40 hours. Multitasking seems to be the best way to resolve this modern stress—but is it?

I am in the same shoes. I developed the habit of multitasking. I had times when I was organizing my desk, listening to a podcast, and thinking over a new plan. Did I organize my desk? Yes, but did I get anything from the podcast? No. Did I accomplish the plan? Sort of. But I know it was not the best I can think of.

I created an illusion of having done it but actually not. I produced just-so-so results. I can hardly focus on one task for a long time. I lose the moment of being present, and I am more stressed.

The following is a wonderful and simple video that touches on this same subject.

So how can we manage our time wisely in this high-spinning society?

  • Change our attitude to time. Time pressure is no longer a passive stress but an active choice. Laura Vanderkam stated in a TED Talk: “We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want and then time saves itself.”
  • Set up our long-term goals and prioritize them, even they not urgent now. Learn more about the important-urgent quadrant from Stephen Covey.
  • Record how we spend our time, analyze it, and then change it.
  • Break your time into small time periods and focus on one task a time, as suggested by Science of Productivity.

I’m more and more encouraged to manage my time well and reduce stress. Are you?

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