The Hidden Costs of Multitasking – Keynote Sample


Does it seem like there’s a referee somewhere hidden in your office, constantly stopping the clock and taking your focus out of the game?

Just about anything can pull your focus from the task at hand, can’t it? Someone could ask a question. Your spouse could text you. You might get an email from a Nigerian prince!

If you continuously shift your attention to these things, then you are a textbook multitasker, and this behavior is killing your productivity. That’s why I want you to be aware of the hidden costs of multitasking or–more specifically—switch-tasking.

When you attempt to perform multiple attention-requiring tasks at the same time, you’re switch-tasking, and all this switching is costly. The problem with switch-tasking isn’t brain power; it’s just math.

Imagine if I asked you to bounce a basketball down the court and shoot a layup…and make it. You might be able to complete this task in twenty seconds.

Now, imagine I put five defenders on you. What are the chances that you’d be able to do it with absolutely no do-overs?

Now, imagine you had to do this while also escaping from a straitjacket.

Now, imagine you did all of the above while opening an email from a Nigerian prince!

Absurd, right? Yet, whenever you attempt to switch-task, that’s pretty much what you’re doing to yourself. The costs of multitasking are unavoidable, as long as you try to perform more than one attention-requiring task simultaneously.

Do you agree? What do you think causes you to switch-task most in your day?

Ok, time in!

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