Multi-tasking makes us less productive


According to recent studies, multi-tasking is suggested to make us less productive and susceptible to errors and increased stress. When doing one particular task it is more often than not you would find yourself being distracted by an incoming email, a colleague that needs a hand or a ringing phone before you can finish what you started.

Some decades ago, work-life allowed people to stay focused and present with the task they initially set their mind to. Today’s work-life is very different from what it use to be. Most employees are under constant crossfire. Emails, phones calls, meetings, text messages and colleagues are constantly requiring their focus and because of these distractions employees are struggling with the work load and effective multi-tasking.

A study conducted at Stanford University in 2009 concluded multitasking leads to more mistakes and requires longer time to perform a task. In 2011, an article featuring in the McKinsey Quarterly stated “Multi-tasking is a terrible coping mechanism. A body of scientific evidence demonstrates conclusively that multi-tasking makes humans less productive, less creative, and less able to make good decisions. If we want to be effective, we need to stop.” Furthermore, American psychiatrist Edward Hallowell found that modern office life and an increasingly common condition called ‘Attention Deficit Trait’ are turning steady workers into frenzied underachievers’.

Todays happy wheels employees are fast losing their ability to focus on the task at hand. The constant interruptions of emails, phones and colleagues are undermining our ability to pay attention. Statistics state that on average our attention is drifting involuntarily 46.9 per cent of our waking hours.

Several companies are attempting to put an end to this growing trend through corporate mindfulness training, which in turn will enhance wellbeing, performance and productivity. Professor Jochen Reb from Singapore Management University found that a corporate mindfulness implementation leads to an increase in job performance, job satisfaction, work-life balance, organisational citizenship behaviour and ultimately the ability to focus. Additionally, organisations should see decreases in emotional exhaustion, stress and turnover intention.

We need to take control of our thoughts and be more present with the tasks we are doing at any given time. It entails managing our mind rather than letting our mind manage us. This can be achieved through corporate mindfulness training to help us engage in everyday work activities to be more efficient, productive, collaborative and creative.

Mindfulness training is designed to improve our ability to identify and prioritise the important work from the not so important. Corporate mindfulness takes time and dedication but when enough time and effort is invested, the outcome will be rewarding for all involved.

Labour Solutions Australia


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Labour Solutions Australia Pty Ltd specialises in temporary, permanent and outsourced workforce solutions with a strong focus on Food Processing, Civil and Building Construction, Mining and Engineering, Transport and Logistics, Manufacturing and Agribusiness staffing needs.

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