Weekend Poll Results: Multi-Tasking

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … Is multi-tasking beneficial, or counter-productive?

It varies, but multi-tasking is generally counter-productive

That’s what 73% of respondents said. For 14% of you, it’s simply counter-productive. For almost one out of every 10 respondents, multi-tasking is beneficial.

Readers are well positioned to assess this

… because 71% of respondents report that they multi-task much of the time. 6% of you said you avoid multi-tasking at all costs, while 23% multi-task only occasionally.

I’ll share word of your perspectives at next week’s APC conference

… and so, in that sense, your voices will be travelling to Toronto, Canada with me. I’ll be giving three presentations at APC Canada’s 19th annual conference for administrative professionals, and one of them focuses on organisational skills.

Read on for full details of the results..

THE DATA

 Which of the following best describes your work habits?

  • 71% of respondents: I multi-task much of the time
  • 23% of respondents: I multi-task occasionally, but it’s not my norm
  • 6% of respondents: I avoid multi-tasking at all costs

 

On a scale of 1 (highly ineffective) to 5 (very effective), rate the effectiveness of multi-tasking in general.

  • 1 (highly ineffective): 2% of respondents
  • 2: 31% of respondents
  • 3: 35% of respondents
  • 4: 28% of respondents
  • 5 (very effective): 0% of respondents
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”.  See below for comments.
    • (It’s) effective on days where concentration comes in small bursts
    • It can disrupt a focused piece of work

 

 If you find yourself regularly multi-tasking, which best describes the reason you do so?

  • 44% of respondents: It’s become a habit
  • 23% of respondents: I love it; the variety/pace appeal to me.
  • 21% of respondents: I don’t know any other way to function
  • 8% of respondents: It would be boring to focus on just one task at a time.
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “It would be boring to focus on just one task at a time”, and another wrote that it depends on the person.

 

Do you think multi-tasking is generally beneficial, or counter-productive?

  • 73% of respondents: It varies. There are times when it’s a necessity, but it’s generally counter-productive.
  • 14% of respondents: Counter-productive
  • 9% of respondents: Beneficial
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included a note that it depends on the person, and “A mix of both depending on circumstances at the time”.

 

Lastly, I asked people to offer any tips for those who would like to shift away from multi-tasking. Here’s what you said.

  • Reduce the number of notifications you receive, to help you stay focused.
  • Turn off email notifications
  • I have introduced my boss to categories, grouping tasks to save time.
  • It takes focus to multi-task effectively. Prioritization is the key.
  • I like Shelagh’s concept of focusing on managing priorities.That will help focus.
  • Set timer for task/schedule time to complete
  • Unfortunately the Admin role doesn’t always offer the option of moving away from
  • Talk with your manager and plan as much as possible to avoid multi-tasking
  • Multi-tasking gives me such a buzz and makes the day more fun.
  • I need help
  • Discuss the impact with your Exec and agree take a breath days
  • Discipline!

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