Multi-tasking lowers productivity

I have to multi-task. I am the bottle-neck for too many problems already and my team needs input from me before they can continue in many areas.

But I know it doesn’t make me efficient. Switching between tasks takes time. You forget important details, and struggle to get the depth of understanding and focus required for complex issues. The cross-pollination of ideas and solutions doesn’t come close to making up for these drawbacks.

From the research:

Descriptive evidence suggests that judges who keep fewer trials active and wait to close the open ones before starting new ones, dispose more rapidly of a larger number of cases per unit of time. In this way, their backlog remains low even though they receive the same workload as other judges who juggle more trials at any given time.

Did you read those magic words? “…backlog remains low…” I don’t know anyone who doesn’t wish for the luxury of a shorter backlog of work.

The paper itself is fairly complex, analysing theoretical models of human task scheduling.  You should probably add it to your pile of things to read in the middle of other work.