This is the age of multitasking, but I’m firmly convinced that this is not always a good thing. It seems that the more we divide our time among different projects, the less “quality time” each project will receive. Besides that, if we’re rapidly shifting focus between multiple projects, I believe that we gradually lose our ability to concentrate for prolonged periods of time.
As an example of this, I will point out the loss of effective communication I’ve observed over the past few years. People are trying to do so many things that they don’t have time to completely focus on anything. As a result, they often only have a chance to skim e-mail messages, reports, and other forms of communication. There is no time for in-depth reading or analysis. Ultimately this means that they miss important details. I can think of countless times when this has happened in the workplace. With more and more diverse tasks in our daily jobs, it seems that this problem can only escalate.
There are those who are very good multitaskers, but that still does not overcome the fact that they are constantly dividing their focus and concentration between multiple projects, and no single project can receive their undivided attention for a long time.
The New Atlantis posted an interesting article about multitasking here.