No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

One thing at a time


When I’m talking to delegates about time management, we inevitably come to the subject of multitasking. Once we’ve got past the jokes about men not being able to multitask and women being excellent at it we start to talk seriously about whether it’s either possible or even helpful.

Very often, delegates will boast of their ability to do two, three or more things at once – increasingly, they say they must multitask in order to stand any chance of doing all the things they need to do. Bear in mind that these are the same delegates who complain that they’re too busy and feel under stress, don’t have time to plan and so on. When I gently challenge them on their ability to multitask effectively, given the brain’s ability to focus on just one thing at a time, they’re adamant: they multitask and they’re good at it – it’s what keeps them afloat in the sea of work in which they’re nearly drowning.

It’s not just people with time management issues that do this.BIGresearch claims that 70% of media users consume more than one medium at a time: of those who are listening to the radio, 54% are also online, 47% are also reading a newspaper and 18% are also watching TV. The chances are you’re doing it now – scanning this article whilst listening to music, eating a sandwich, checking your emails and hiding from the boss!

There’s clearly a lot of it about but does multitasking actually help? Research released recently from Stanford University in the US would indicate that it doesn’t and there’s an interesting reason why. It would seem that the people who multitask the most are actually the people who are least able to multitask effectively. Not only do high multitaskers do poorly at multitasking, the more they do it the worse they get! Of course, this has a knock on effect on the quality of their work and the time it takes them to do it – probably prompting an even greater desire or perceived need to multitask.

It’s unclear whether poor multitaskers are more inclined to multitask or whether you get worse at multitasking the more you do it. Either way, I’m starting to build up my library of evidence supporting my theory that concentrating on one thing at a time is the quickest and most effective way to regain control of your time.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!