Tuesday Buzz: The Downsides of Multitasking

Why taking a step back from doing multiple tasks at once may be the best decision you'll make all day. Also: If you're on a job interview, don't be afraid to ask a few questions of your own.

Tackling several tasks simultaneously can feel really good if done right.

The problem is, this strategy is often done wrong, and it’s easy to get offtrack. Plus, when it’s done wrong, it can really stress you out.

That’s the take of Votenet Marketing Director Jenn Barton, who says that you may just be better off single-tasking when you have a plate full of stuff to do. She highlights research that finds that multitasking workers get ahead of themselves after a couple of small victories.

“When you multitask ‘successfully,’ the reward mechanism in your brain releases dopamine,” she explains. “Multitaskers get addicted to this dopamine rush of happiness which leads them to search for external stimuli (like an email or text notification), lose focus, and believe they’re being effective when they’re not.”

She suggests taking a more focused approach—drop the tweeting, the emails, and close up all the tabs. And take a break every once in a while—you look famished!

Flip the Script

Looking for a new gig? Nervous about the interviews you’re going on? Instead of getting caught up in that feeling, try seizing the chance to turn the tables on the interviewer and ask your own questions.

“During an interview, you are just as much the interviewee as the interviewer,” explains Lindsey Allbritton, the foundation program manager at Partners in Association Management. “My advice—when the opportunity allows, take advantage of being the interviewer.”

In case you’re wondering what kinds of questions are worth asking, Albritton offers a few tips in her blog post on the company’s Partners Preceptors blog.

Ask smart questions, get smart answers. (ht @johnricco)

Other Links of Note

If you’ve rented a car from Hertz recently and wondered why there was a camera in the vehicle, Fusion‘s Kashmir Hill knows the answer.

Don’t know where to start with your next project? Help Me Build, a storehouse of tools to help you create websites, graphics, and designs, may be just what you need.

One strategy to get lazy coworkers to pick up their fair share of the work, according to The Muse? Ask a good question that evokes action.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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