I recently watched a video promoting a new software, the “next generation business software”. During the video, notifications appear -very- often allowing for a fast change in the flow of work. This can be seen as helping the user to multitask (positive view) or distracting the user from the important tasks (negative view). In this article I’ll present some ideas pro multitasking and some against multitasking and providing my views and conclusions. All in less than 300 words.
(The video is at the end of the article)
Is multitasking good or bad?
Doing immediately things that take less than 2 minutes is a good practice. So notifications for fast tasks are good.
Interrupting your work is a bad practice. It takes various minutes to focus the brain back into the original task. So notifications are bad.
Food for thoughts
Or maybe it is a generational change: newer generations are more efficient by multitasking, trained by the multitasking implicit in the use of smartphone and computers.
Or maybe it’s a generational change: newer generations are LESS efficient but multitasking is now part of the normal way of doing, it is expected.
I’m older than I want to admit: I find more productive to single-task.
I have the suspect that as a specie we like to be interrupted so we can feel productive by being busy. Otherwise, why is it that any new tool that generates big productivity boost ends up loosing some of that power to distraction? For example the E-mail is way more productive that mail: it’s immediate and simple, the result was a huge boost in productivity! But years later being interrupted 400+ times per day by 400+ notifications from emails becomes the norm, the productivity boost deflates.