Multitasking is often associated with an employment skill, as many individuals point in their resumes or emphasize in their hiring interviews that they can easily multitask, underlining like this a desired outcome – the work efficiency. While speaking at the phone, people often engage in other activities, such as reading an email, checking social media accounts, cleaning or arranging documents, which are secondary activities, accomplished while on the phone in order to optimize time for working on more activities. However, other secondary activities can have dangerous repercussions, such as driving while speaking on the phone. While not all the secondary activities are dangerous when multitasking, either the main activity or the secondary ones or all the activities in which an individual is concomitantly involved in, may result in poor quality of the work done. In addition, other negative consequences can occur as a result of multitasking, such as accidents, lack of involvement and focus in either of the multitasked activities and accumulating stress. These are the reasons for which I agree with Peter Bregman’s opinion that multitasking needs to stop.
Multitasking is not as effective as people generally believe. In his article, “How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking”, Peter Bregman indicates that multitasking does not actually exist in reality (“We don’t actually multitask.” (Bregman 1)). Although people perceive as doing more things in the same time, they are actually shifting their attention from one action to another, interrupting their processes and focus unproductively, while also losing energy and time. It often observe my friends how they are struggling to multitask and fail. Sometimes, when I am in a face to face discussion with some of my friends, their smartphones announce them that they have a new message on Facebook or WhatsApp. While they continue humming, indicating that they pay attention to our discussion, they are checking their messages, showing obvious signs that they lost focus on the face to face discussion and shifted it on the virtual conversations. Hence, I support Bregman’s argument that we do not actually multitask, but shift focus from one activity to another. This situation leads to managing poorly both or all activities between which we shift our focus, because we tend to lose engagement in things if we shift our attention to other activities.
Multitasking is both unproductive and stressful, posing a high risk for affecting humans’ well-being. Multitasking and driving are incompatible, as this combination can result in serious accidents, injuries, or even death. Many other multitasking activities are equally or highly dangerous, and in the same time very stressful. As Bregman indicates multitasking is both inefficient and stressful, arguing that focusing on one thing at a time generates a reassuring feeling, which replaces the concerns of handling multiple tasks at a time (“Research shows that multitasking isn’t just inefficient, it’s stressful” (Bregman 2)). I often find myself in situations wherein I have to study, while I also engage with my colleagues on chats for explaining how to approach the home assignments. Although I consider a useful thing to help my colleagues, as the time passes my level of stress increases, knowing that I have less time to study and to properly explain the home assignments. For this reason I consider that multitask is unproductive, as I cannot focus effectively on both tasks at the same time, but also stressful, because it decreases my self – assurance in accomplishing my tasks, rising my concerns and shifting my attention from my duties to my worries.
Without multitask, people can better enjoy life and avoid health problems. We are used to permanently occupying our minds with various thoughts, just for the benefit of not losing time. Bregman (2) says, “Don’t laugh, but I actually – for the first time in a while – noticed the beauty of the leaves blowing in the wind”, since he stopped multitasking. A simple walk in the park has become a walk in the park with the headsets on, while thinking at a business plan, or scanning the emails received while starring down at the smartphone. All these multitasking activities impede us from feeling what is happening around us, from seeing the beauty of the world. Multitasking can be harmful for human health. Instead of seeing the leaves that blow in the wind, a beautiful sunset on the lake or an impressive landscape, focusing on the emails received while walking in the park actually infringes the benefit of walking in the park: relaxation. Multitasking keeps us permanently connected with things that we must do, disallowing a moment of relaxation, which would help to regain energy. While always busy doing two or three things at the same time, we tend to forget to take a break, so necessary for our nervous system, but also for other functions that keep us in a good health. Therefore, our health might suffer from continuous multitasking, which is why I support the idea of stopping the multitasking.
On the other hand, it might be stated that multitasking is a necessity of the daily activity. While we are involved in an activity that requires a response time, just waiting for the response and focusing on the same activity would imply losing time, translating into inefficiency. This time could be optimized by engaging in other actions, in order to gain productivity and increase the efficiency. Like this, two or more things could be solved, instead of ineffectively waiting to process a singular task. However, there is a peril in multitasking, even in a situation like this. If the actions implemented during the pause from waiting for a response to an earlier developed activity depend on the response on that activity, the course of the later implemented actions can contradict the initial activity. Like this, multitasking can cause adverse effects to the expected efficiency results, possibly ending in time, energy and financial resources lost or spent unwisely.
Supporting my arguments for stopping multitasking with Peter Bregman’s opinions expressed in “How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking”, I have presented in this essay several ideas for which I consider that stopping multitasking would be a good idea. Poor work quality resulting from shifting focus from one activity to another with ineffective results, avoiding stress caused by multitasking or enjoying the beauty of life and taking a relaxation moment for a healthy life are the main claims against multitasking. I supported these claims with extracts from Bregman’s article, as well as personal evidence that indicate the ineffectiveness, stressful and health related problems caused by multitasking. My argumentation also includes a counterargument that defends multitasking as a necessity for optimizing time, but I refute it demonstrating the consequences that multitasking might generate. Focusing on one task at a time could increase the quality of life and work, while strengthening our self-confidence and reducing the stress and the health problems associated with multitasking, which is why multitasking needs to stop.
Bregman, Peter. How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking. Available at https://hbr.org/2010/05/how-and-why-to-stop-multitaski.html. Accessed 10 June 2015. 2010. Web.