If Multi-Tasking is bad, Multi-Tasking with Multi-Reporting is Hell

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009

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There have been numerous studies to show that multi-tasking is not efficient and the human brain cannot multi-task efficiently. If we say that it is then we are deluding.

  1. Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again. It involves a lot of context switching and thus less time to be effective.
  2. Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.
  3. Multi-tasking can be crazy, and in this already chaotic world, we need to reign in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.

There are ways to be efficient and the rule # 1 is not to multi-task

So by now you would have agreed that multi-tasking is bad. Now let me introduce you to hell.

The easy way is to multi-task and have a stakeholders for each of those tasks.

So ideally not only you would be spending time context switching between the tasks but also preparing reporting for multiple stakeholders.

In effect it would be something like this

multi-task-report

The effect of this would be that

  1. You would be performing less exponentially with context switching taken to the nth level between tasks and stakeholders
  2. You would be able to disappoint all the stakeholders with the limited progress that you can make
  3. All the stakeholders would assume that you feel that their work is less important since it is not getting done or getting done at a very slow pace.
  4. When you tell the Stakeholder Y that you are also working with Stakeholder X for task A and Stakeholder Z for task C, be prepared to be seen as a person who is playing politics and knows how to pitch one stakeholder against the other.
  5. You would always be frustrated and confused in the end and would potentially function at less than 50% of your actual capacity. Most of the days would end with the feeling ” What did I do today?”

Hence, you can try to change the adage

“You can please someone every time.
You can please everyone sometimes.
But you can’t please everyone, every time.”
— Author Unknown

but the luck would run out sooner than you expect.

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