The truth about multitasking

Very busy business

Let’s say it straight forward: multitasking does not exist. We all have sometimes perceived that we were successfully doing 2 different things simultaneously, but it was an illusion: our brain is a serial thinker (learn more here or here).

All the supposed benefits of doing 2 things at the same time are false. Our brain can not shift focus from one task to another immediately: it needs time and effort, which decreases dramatically safety (lower attention), quality (more errors) and delivery (less efficiency and effectiveness). In other words: intellectual work follows similar rules as material work. Mental changeovers exist.

Let’s see an example.

Multitasking

Lean for services (Lean for “information work”) must focus in creating a healthy environment to think properly. It is critical to:

  • Avoid interruptions
  • Make sure all the needed information is available
  • Encourage people to save enough time to focus in one specific task

For more information, I recommend these books

  • “A Factory of One” (Daniel Markovitz): Lean principles for your individual work
  • “Lean Office and Service simplified” (Drew Locher): Lean principles to design information work.

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2 responses to “The truth about multitasking”

  1. Boss in the middle says :

    Very true! Heard this awhile ago and always believed it. Good post!

  2. leanvoodoo says :

    Thank you for you comment! “Mental changeover” can be as dangerous for people’s productivity as product changeover can be for machine’s productivity

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