The ability to multitask is an overplayed myth. The human brain is only capable of working on one task at a time. A human with 2 arms and 10 fingers can only perform one task at a time. An individual only has 8-10 hours in a workday, allowing at least 30 minutes to chew on some food so we can continue to work hard to get all of the tasks completed.
The bottom line is, no matter how many tasks you give to someone, they can only work on one thing at a time. There needs to be a better understanding of this across the board, especially during this time of holiday stress.
Offer to help someone who looks stressed and overworked. If you can help them by taking some work from them, try to do the task yourself or seek another resource before you pile another item that “will only take a second”. While it may only seem to take a “second” because you are not the one doing the task, it takes someone an average of 10 minutes to assess the task, plan the best course of action, execute the task and report back to the person who assigned the task.
There is no secret behind multitasking. The only thing behind multitasking is that it is kept a secret. The inability to multitask is perceived as a sign of weakness, both professionally as well as in our personal lives, and weakness contributes to failure. Unfortunately, keeping it a secret that, while you are capable of managing many projects and tasks in a short period of time you are secretly overwhelmed to the point of inability to concentrate on one task, only creates more stress making you a weaker person.
It’s time to stop assuming that multitasking is something to be praised because it’s a false reality. Reward a person for their ability to be reliable, trustworthy, personable and diligent, and desire to take full ownership of what is considered “their job”.
Personally, at every job where I have felt respected, I have loved working there. I may have been working as a cashier, a receptionist, an assistant or a telemarketer but, as long as my boss gave me respect for the person I am and the job I was doing, I was happy at my job.