Do you think “Smart” workers mean people who can multitask?

Lets admit it – We say that we multitask. But we dont.

Microprocessors do. They are judged by the number of parallel computations which they can do at one time. How do they manage? They work on one operation while they are continuously ticking for other inputs every second. The moment user input comes in, they start working on that with priority.


What do we do? We do a lot of work at the same time – We look at our emails with headphone on, attending meetings, reading triage reports and someone who looks at such a person would feel he is a perfect multitasker. Actually the word itself is used so frequently in the industry where we work that project managers at times expect teams to multitask. We feel good if we are working on 2-3 things at the same time and at the end of the hour, all three things are successfully completed. However, what we are doing is actually “Time Switching” and not multitasking.

When we are in a triage meeting and listening to defect statuses or in a Joint Application Discussion (JAD) session, we think that we are multitasking when we read emails in between in the meeting. Reality – We are not even listening to what is being said in the call. So we are actually switching the idle time in the meeting to reading the emails and saving time. However, we are completely ignorant of what is going on in the call in the meanwhile. Our minds are built in such a way that we can think about only one thing at a time and when we switch quickly from one task to the other leaving one task incomplete, we tend to do a lot of ALT+TABS to only realize that we spent 25% more time in switching tasks and switching time! (Source: Linkedin HBR Article published November 3rd, 2011)

Multitasking gives an impression of work being done faster whereas the quality suffers.

When you think of people working in multiple projects at the same time in various software companies, the situation would be nearly similar. You have to switch off your mind and the code which you are writing for Client A and then move your mind and time to code for Client B.  As a developer, as a project manager, you would have to ensure that the work quality is not lowered and the client gets the perfect quality of work done. And that inevitably means longer work hours, longer work times and reduced energy levels and reduced quality. Its goes on as a cycle and can be broken with the myth on multitasking breaking down!

Lets focus on doing one job at a time, one step at a time. That is why we ensure our clients are informed about Mindfire’s Dedicated Monthly Engagement model and its advantages before they choose any form of engagement with us. If you have questions on how we ensure quality in the monthly model, please do feel free to email me –

Do you agree that so called Multitasking actually takes up a lot of your time, creates confusion and finally ends up wasting more time? Or Do you feel that Multitasking or Switching time has actually helped you become more efficient and you can do two things at a time.. Would love to hear your views.




2 thoughts on “Do you think “Smart” workers mean people who can multitask?

  1. After reading this i would prefer to call myself a better time manager then a multi-tasker…. as u here proving that multi-tasker human being is a myth… 🙂
    at the end, nice to read…. great writing

  2. I enjoy your page, have you considered adding and RSS feed feature? That will allow me to get automatic updates of new posts. If you set up notifications via RSS, please email me! I will fav your website for now. Again Excellent blog!

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