Marketing Discussion: To Multitask or Not to Multitask?

Mar 21, 2013

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Scott Christofferson

The Debate

Do you think that multitasking is useful? Does it work for you? Many experts believe that it might be the most detrimental method to actually getting work done. It also greatly depends on what you call multitasking and the type of work that you’re doing. Many businesses have this very question about their marketing. Should they try a number of different tactics? Focus just a few? Once again, it just depends . . but once you decide on your tactics you’ll want to keep the rest of what I cover in mind as you complete your marketing tasks.


Here Are a Few Issues

Studies have shown (like this one) that multitasking actually “hampers creativity and increases error.” Many of you may have seen this in your own professional roles or among those with whom you work. I’ve found that sometimes we’re bogged down by too much information rather than not enough which is why it’s sometimes best to simplify and focus on getting things done.

Teachers and presenters prove the point that multitasking might be the most ineffective strategy all of the time. Think back on when an instructor has asked a question to someone who’s working on their computer or phone. In nearly 100% of these cases they either get the question completely wrong or they ask to have the question repeated.

A Few Distinctions

According to a management consultant, Marianne Carlson, the brain has something similar to two processors. “Different parts of the brain are, as you may know, responsible for different kinds of tasks,” she says. “The part of the brain responsible for concentrating on new tasks and creativity, for example, differs from the part that handles routine, memorized activities.”

Multitasking may work when you’re working on tasks that you can easily do on autopilot but creative work is done using the prefrontal cortex which requires focus. Tasks and combinations of tasks should be planned carefully and coordinated with your core strengths and conditions.

You have to be the judge of what you can do – what works and what doesn’t. If you need to manage a lot of tasks at one time but you’re focusing on one thing at a time then that’s productive.

You have to be the judge of what you can do – what works and what doesn’t. If you need to manage a lot of tasks at one time but you’re focusing on one thing at a time then that’s productive.

Some Simple Tips

Here are a few things that work for me: checking email less often but taking care of each email as I read them, planning enough time to start and complete a task without interruption, listening to music as I work on a specific project to help me block out other distractions, and having a daily planning session to map out my schedule for the day.

What works for you?

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