Usually when you read a job requirement in many programming jobs you find that they need a “multi-tasker” and you think that multitasking is powerful skill you need to have. Firstly, what is multitasking? Well, in simple words, it’s the ability of doing many things at the same time. Anyone can practice doing that, but did you know that it’s detrimental to your productivity?
Multitasking might sound like an amazingly great skill to have, but the truth is that it will kill your productivity. Our brains were created to focus on one thing at a time and when you try to focus on two things you’re dividing your focus a little here and a little there and at the end you will not achieve optimum results at any of the two tasks. No matter how hard you try, multitasking is a terrible thing to do specially in programming where you need deep concentration on one task.
Don’t get me wrong here. There is a difference between multitasking in simple activities and multitasking in complicated ones. For example, say you want to make a phone call and write down a couple of notes, in that case you can do it and it would not kill your productivity. On the other hand, if you were working on a programming project and wanted to create a function and at the same time you want to create a front end design for the side menu. You would not be able to get the best results and it will even take you longer than if you were to work on one task at a time. Notice that in that example, you will work a little bit on the function and a little on the front end design. You will keep switching between them and that kills your concentration.
But why do companies look for people who can multitask?
The truth is that many companies nowadays want to reduce the number of employees. So instead of having two employees, they would hire one and try to give him or her as many tasks as possible –I’m not saying that all companies to so-. But they don’t know that it’s terrible for their businesses to do so. Specially in a programming job, which is unlike other job, it requires working on only one task at a time.
The correct approach
In my opinion, don’t multitask. Instead create a list of things you need to achieve and work on one task at a time. Set a specific period of time for each task even if you could not finish it within that time it’s fine. That way you will notice a huge increase in your productivity.
Same goes for working on a programing project. Write down all the tasks you want to accomplish and start tackling one after the other.