I’ve referred in an earlier post to the impact that Multitasking is having on project deliveries.
A recent article in the Scientific American is challenging the conventional wisdom and suggests [based on a study conducted by the cognitive neuroscience laboratory at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in Paris], that our mind is better suited to deal with multitasking than previously thought.
The above, however, is predicated on specific set of circumstances, whereby the two tasks carry a sufficiently high level of incentive (i.e. carrying out each task carries the promise of a reward) AND that none of the conflicting tasks results in too many unrelated thoughts (in which case our brain will lose the capacity to keep track of the other task and greater inefficiencies will be introduced into the multitasking process).
The above study cannot (as yet) be used as a justification for encouraging multitasking in the workplace but it does provide some scientific evidence to the fact that in certain circumstances (restricted as they are) multitasking will not necessarily result in negative productivity.