Multitasking is a Myth!

3 Comments 26 June 2012 / by

Last week, I attended a Women Council in my office. This program is to enrich and empower female employees to become leaders within the organization. The statistics say that the percentage of women who were hired into the company was about equal to the number of men. However, as the ladder moves up, less and less women are in power and become the leaders in the business units. This council is trying to empower us to take the leadership and gives in to the challenge.

The speaker that I was coming to listen to in the forum was this lady who holds a senior position within my company, based in New York. She was really empowering and of course, inspiring. She talks about the difficulties of working women to juggle between work and home. Unfortunately, my question about juggling between working and strive for my career while taking care of two kids, could not be answered as she does not have kids. As I grow within the company, I feel that my home team is not strong enough for me to move on and take challenge. I’m more needed at home – at least now with newborn baby -, so there are times that I think I should probably put a halt to strive for any career advances and focus more at home for the time being. Of course, this does not translate that I quit my job. Just enough to go and do what I’m supposed to do at work, but no more, until I’m settled with how things are in the home front.

Being away from my parents and family makes it harder on me because I don’t have that much support at home. I cannot work as late as I want because I have to go home at a certain time to ensure that I pick up my daughter from the daycare. I cannot come in as early as I want cuz I have to wait until my daughter is ready and drop her off to school. Thank God to technology and remote access, I can continue my work from home, though I rarely do it unless it’s urgently needed. Yes, I do have my helper at home, but she also has her hands full with taking care of my second baby, cleaning up the house, ironing and cooking. My hubby is helping in between, but due to his strict working hours, it’s impossible for him to help during the day. He left before I’m even ready and come home after the kids are ready for bed. So, my home team is yours truly.

It’s a juggle alright, but I know I can do it *lap keringet*

One thing interesting about the forum discussion though, she mentions about the myth of multitasking.

Myth? Apparently yes, according to her and here’s why.

We all know, that us women are masters of multitasking. Anything you need to get done simultaneously, ask a woman. We are the queens of getting several things done, from the moment we wake up till we fall back to sleep. It’s just in our nature. Is this really so? Are we that good handling many things at the same time? Are the results of our multitasking is satisfactory or just enough to go by cuz that’s the only way we have to do it?

According to the forum speaker, based on her experience discussing this with a book writer (I didn’t get his name), when we do multitasking, we don’t actually focus on what we’re supposed to do, we end up doing things all in one time, but not necessarily comes up with different great things. In fact, if we take the time to do things one by one, and focus in each task, we may actually be more productive, because the result of each tasks may be far more better than doing things all at once. Yes, we may manage them together, but do not do them all at once.

Hmm.. interesting. She then told us to perform a simple exercise. Using a timer, she asked us to write down a word MULTITASKING on the top and the number 1 to 20 on the bottom. Most of us can do this in less than 20 seconds.

Then she said, do it together simultaneously. So first, you write M on the top, number 1 in the bottom, U on the top, 2 in the bottom, and so on until you complete a word MULTITASKING on the top and number 1 to 20 in the bottom. The result? It’s definitely takes longer than 20 seconds.

This is just to show that our mind is better and more efficient when we focus to do only one thing. We are more productive that way. When we ‘multitask’ and do 2 or more things at once, it takes us longer than focusing on one single thing. And at the end, we are less productive and less efficient. It’s mindblowing for me to learn about this. I never thought about it. All this time I always think that I’m good at multitasking, but this proves that eventhough I can manage different things all at once, I don’t deliver things simultaneously. Even if I do, it’s not up to the level of quality it should be.

So yes, multitasking is a myth. I’m sold! Us women think that we can do it and be good at it. At the end of the day, it does not save us time nor helped us with better result. This is also most of the reasons why many women failed to move on top as leaders. They tried to do many things all at once, sometimes neglecting to delegate. At the end, they crash and burn so bad, they decided to leave work altogether. Or they just don’t deliver. Yes, we are experts in juggling things, that’s no question. We juggle our roles from being a mom, a wife, and an employee, every day. But, we cannot do it all at once. When you are at work, you are an employee. Not necessarily you’re not a mom, just your mommy duty is being replaced temporary while you’re focus at work. When you’re at home, you are a mom and a wife. Therefore, don’t try to juggle your work within your family time.

So, multitask no more! Focus and deliver.

Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Sara says:

    Sangat.. sangat… sangat setuju 😀

  2. sLesTa says:

    @sara: yes, prioritize! it is much more efficient than multitasking.

  3. arinta says:

    setuju sangat.. boleh share ga mbak shinta?

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a worker by choice, a mother and a wife by nature / owner of / co-founder of the urban mama / the urban muslimah | email: slesta[at]slesta[dot]com

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