Is multitasking a myth?

Tips to ensure you don't burn out  4 minute read  Take a little moment to answer these questions; the catch? You’ve to be absolutely truthful!  Have you ever brought your laptop to a meeting, pretended to take notes while surfing the net? Do you gobble down your lunch on your desk, while working continuously? Do you take office calls while driving and even send out an email from behind the wheel?  Now consider answering this conundrum: Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? Surely, you must know the answer by now.  In this tech enabled world, we have forgotten boundaries. We work constantly, juggle multiple things at a time, have more than what we can handle on our plates. To put it simply, our work follows us wherever we go, on our devices, constantly and intrusively. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.     Inspired by Tony Schwartz (President and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of  The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working ), before we get started on handing out life-transforming tips, let’s get the cat out of the bag and understand one thing clearly: multitasking is only a myth and it doesn’t ever lead to productivity. In fact, it leads to burnout, quick and painful.     Don’t Kill Your Productivity   The biggest cost that comes with multitasking is your crashing productivity. When you split your attention, you become partially engaged in multiple tasks rather than being primarily engaged in one task. This inevitably increases your time to finish the work by 25% - that is if you want to achieve a splendid outcome for all the tasks. In turn, your energy levels drop down as you are constantly trying to do something, not achieving the results expected and becoming demotivated as well. If you want to break this wheel, then just focus on giving your best to one task at hand. If you are worried about the mounting pile of work, here one tip - prioritise. Fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking through finite periods of absorbed focus along with shorter periods of real renewal.     Adhere To Meeting Decorum   This is the key to becoming an effective leader. Schedule meetings for maximum 45 minutes so that people can stay focussed, take some time to reflect after the meeting and give yourself as well as your team sometime to recover before the next task at work. Always follow this thumb rule: start the meeting on time and end it on time. This shows that you value time and that people can utilise their schedule affectively.     Stop Being Needy   Burn the itch of expecting instant responses from people at every moment of the day. This is more harmful than you think as it forces you to spend energy on hyperthinking, fractures your attention and makes it difficult to focus on priorities. The result - decreased productivity. Give time to people to respond, if it’s extremely urgent only then resort to a call.     Take A Real Break   You cannot not do this. If you want to ace your game, designate a time in your day when you step away from work and just relax! And you have to encourage this practise at your work space as well. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, have a chat with your colleagues or simply take a power nap. Do whatever that gets you to let down your hair.     Think Forward   Carve out a scheduled time in a month when you will dedicate to thinking long term, beyond-the-box goals about your future. This has to be your ‘me time’ and a strategic move on your part. If you don’t take a step back and think, you will always find yourself stuck in the humbug of everyday life, jotting down to-dos and running around to complete them. Find a conducive environment that motivates to set quality goals in your life.     Be Pro Vacation   Your vacation has to be REAL. When you are off, you will be disconnected from work, completely and faithfully. Also, being a vacation pro doesn’t mean taking an off once in 5 years. Make it a habit. Go for at least two vacations a year and recharge your batteries. Trust us on one thing, when you come back to work after a ‘successful’ vacation, you will be more focused, more creative, more motivated and will be able to tick off those goals on to-do list a lot quicker.  On an endnote, here’s the key takeaway: Stop living your life in the gray zone. When you work, fully engage for defined periods of time. When you are renewing, don’t do it half heartedly.  Got any more tips on how to get out of the gray zone? We would love to hear from you in the comments below and feature you in our next article.

Tips to ensure you don't burn out

4 minute read

Take a little moment to answer these questions; the catch? You’ve to be absolutely truthful!

Have you ever brought your laptop to a meeting, pretended to take notes while surfing the net? Do you gobble down your lunch on your desk, while working continuously? Do you take office calls while driving and even send out an email from behind the wheel?

Now consider answering this conundrum: Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? Surely, you must know the answer by now.

In this tech enabled world, we have forgotten boundaries. We work constantly, juggle multiple things at a time, have more than what we can handle on our plates. To put it simply, our work follows us wherever we go, on our devices, constantly and intrusively. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.


Inspired by Tony Schwartz (President and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working), before we get started on handing out life-transforming tips, let’s get the cat out of the bag and understand one thing clearly: multitasking is only a myth and it doesn’t ever lead to productivity. In fact, it leads to burnout, quick and painful.

Don’t Kill Your Productivity

The biggest cost that comes with multitasking is your crashing productivity. When you split your attention, you become partially engaged in multiple tasks rather than being primarily engaged in one task. This inevitably increases your time to finish the work by 25% - that is if you want to achieve a splendid outcome for all the tasks. In turn, your energy levels drop down as you are constantly trying to do something, not achieving the results expected and becoming demotivated as well. If you want to break this wheel, then just focus on giving your best to one task at hand. If you are worried about the mounting pile of work, here one tip - prioritise. Fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking through finite periods of absorbed focus along with shorter periods of real renewal.

Adhere To Meeting Decorum

This is the key to becoming an effective leader. Schedule meetings for maximum 45 minutes so that people can stay focussed, take some time to reflect after the meeting and give yourself as well as your team sometime to recover before the next task at work. Always follow this thumb rule: start the meeting on time and end it on time. This shows that you value time and that people can utilise their schedule affectively.

Stop Being Needy

Burn the itch of expecting instant responses from people at every moment of the day. This is more harmful than you think as it forces you to spend energy on hyperthinking, fractures your attention and makes it difficult to focus on priorities. The result - decreased productivity. Give time to people to respond, if it’s extremely urgent only then resort to a call.

Take A Real Break

You cannot not do this. If you want to ace your game, designate a time in your day when you step away from work and just relax! And you have to encourage this practise at your work space as well. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, have a chat with your colleagues or simply take a power nap. Do whatever that gets you to let down your hair.

Think Forward

Carve out a scheduled time in a month when you will dedicate to thinking long term, beyond-the-box goals about your future. This has to be your ‘me time’ and a strategic move on your part. If you don’t take a step back and think, you will always find yourself stuck in the humbug of everyday life, jotting down to-dos and running around to complete them. Find a conducive environment that motivates to set quality goals in your life.

Be Pro Vacation

Your vacation has to be REAL. When you are off, you will be disconnected from work, completely and faithfully. Also, being a vacation pro doesn’t mean taking an off once in 5 years. Make it a habit. Go for at least two vacations a year and recharge your batteries. Trust us on one thing, when you come back to work after a ‘successful’ vacation, you will be more focused, more creative, more motivated and will be able to tick off those goals on to-do list a lot quicker.

On an endnote, here’s the key takeaway: Stop living your life in the gray zone. When you work, fully engage for defined periods of time. When you are renewing, don’t do it half heartedly.

Got any more tips on how to get out of the gray zone? We would love to hear from you in the comments below and feature you in our next article.


Himanshu Bhalla