Ok, I know I will likely raise the ire of readers here who are, by definition, likely multi-taskers. I mean, online students typically choose the online methodology for learning precisely because they’re too busy with jobs and family to devote so much time to on-campus classes. So while you’re here reading, toggling back and forth between this blog and your course work, feeding the baby, balancing the checkbook and getting your things together to go back to work tomorrow morning, let me tell you why such multi-tasking is bad for you. **Ducks and covers to avoid hurled projectiles**
Professor David Meyer of University of Michigan recently completed a study where he asked students in a math class to perform two mathematical problems at the same time. He asked a control group to perform the same two equations one after the other. Categorically, the group that was working both problems at the same time took longer to complete both than the control group who did them in succession.
I probably don’t have to tell anyone how distracting incoming emails can be while working. I know for me, as I write this blog, every time an email hits my inbox making that little electronic jingle noise, my blogging is interrupted as I toggle over to see who has emailed me. And don’t get me started on Twitters, IMs and other electronic “pokes” emanating from friends and co-workers.
My best advice — and a growing consensus among the people who study such things — is to schedule your tasks in order of priority and tackle them one at a time. Clean up your work area, both your actual desktop and computer desktop. Close all applications but the one for the project at hand and focus on one task at a time. I think you’ll find that you get more done. And more importantly, the quality of the work you do, and the attention to the details therein will rise.
What are your thoughts? Do you stand by your ability to successfully multi-task? Or does it make you more distracted?