Whether you are a CEO, a king or just an ordinary man, Allah is very fair to you. Regardless of your position, status or religion, you are given 24 hours in a day – not a minute less or a minute more. But people are naturally greedy; they want maximum results in the least amount of time. Something for nothing. As a result, many organizations require their staff to multi-task, so they can get several jobs done by only paying one poor soul.
The ability to multitask is considered an asset by many organisations as it can increase their profitability. Little do they know that by demanding your staff to multi-task, they’re holding their organizations back. As Muslims who hold a leadership position, we need to look at how Islam teaches us. regardless of what the management ‘Gurus’ are saying, is multi-tasking encouraged by Islam? Who else is best for us to follow other than the most influential man of all time? Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم , however, he is always the last reference for us to refer to!
The Most Influential Man Did Not Multi-Task. Why?
Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم played various roles during his lifetime: a messenger, a husband, a head of state, a military leader and many more. And he excelled in all the roles that he was entrusted with. Yet he gave his undivided attention to every man, woman, child, and task. If you have doubts about whether Rasullulah صلى الله عليه وسلم multi-tasked or not, you can read the article “Did Rasullullah multi task?,” written by Mohammed Faris, the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com. Faris argued that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم performed multiple roles but he was focused on each and every one of them. As for why Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم, this is the question we are trying to answer.
Multitasking Causes Brain Damage
University of Sussex (UK) ran MRI scans on the brains of individuals who spent time on multiple devices at once (texting while checking their emails or watching TV). They found that multi-taskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex. This is the area of the brain which is responsible for emotional control and empathy. These are two things that are very important to be a good human being. If you can’t control your emotions, you are inviting all sorts of trouble into your life. More research needs to be done to determine whether multitasking is the sole culprit for this or there are other factors which contribute to this unacceptable damage to your brain. However, it’s clear that multitasking has a link to brain damage.
A research carried out by Stanford University revealed that people who multitask are less productive than people who focus on completing one task at a time. The researchers found out that people who are regularly flooded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information. What is interesting is that people who think multitasking improves their performance and do it frequently are actually slower. They had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.
IQ of an 8-year-old
Especially for men, another study from the University of London found something more alarming, which is multitasking can lower your IQ to that of an eight-year-old. This happens when they multitask, which involves cognitive experience that requires thinking, understanding and decision making. Their IQ scores would decline to the level people who had stayed up all night. As for multitasking men, their IQ would drop by 15 points giving them a score to the average range of an 8-year-old child.
Don’t Even Think About It!
Even if you are just thinking about multitasking, just that mere thought can lower your IQ. Some studies have shown, simply being aware of unfinished task like the knowledge unchecked emails or WhatsApps notifications can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.
Business leaders need to realize that pressuring their staffs to multi-tasks will reduce their effectiveness and efficiency, leading ultimately to a loss of productivity and lowering profits. Studies have shown that up to 40% loss in productively per person when he or she needs to switch to a different task, and the cost of interruption regarding switching to a new task is 23 minutes and 15 seconds.
As a business leader, how would you like to be accountable for a loss of profits of up to 40%? How about a downtime of 42 hours per month, by having each staff multitask five tasks per day? There’s a better way to lead and manage your employees, and it starts by letting them focus on their work, and remove multi-tasking.