Why Your Boss Shouldn’t Want You to Multitask

Feeling burned out? Maybe you're doing too many things at once. For those of you who greeted that news with a resounding, "duh," here's some ammunition to bring to your boss.

Tony Schwartz, author of "Be Excellent at Anything," examined the issue of multitasking for the Harvard Business Review blog. His conclusion: our relentless need to be doing more than one thing at a time is causing us to be less productive.

Splitting your attention between tasks means that you're only partially engaged in all of them, he says. He claims that this increases the time it takes to complete a task by 25 percent, on average.

Most of all, he says that "…if you're always doing something, you're relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour."

His fellow blogger Sanjeev Gupta says that the onus is on employers to encourage their workers not to do too many things at once. It's easier, he says, to change things at an organizational level than it is to break people of their personal habits.

Among other recommendations, Gupta suggests that companies consider reducing the number of open projects at one given time by 25 to 50 percent — a number that, to many of us, sounds like a the equivalent of a beach vacation or early retirement.

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