The truth about multitasking
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.
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.