Multi-Tasking, Skill or Crutch?

Should you take “multi-tasking” off your resume? PrintThe entire concept and success of IMPACT virtual services is based around the ability to increase efficiency and productivity, so we can’t help but wonder about the skill so many applicants and professionals describe as, “multi-tasking.” Is this possible? And if so, is it truly the most efficient way to work? Many seem to be torn on whether or not this is a skill or a trait that inhibits productive, quality work.

Whether it is in our personal or professional life, more is expected of us than ever before. Responding to emails while on a call with a family member, paying bills while making a list of deadlines approaching that day, our minds are constantly racing! Younger generations are increasingly more efficient with maintaining several tasks going at seemingly the same time, many suggest due to the use of incorporation of technology in their everyday lives. But perhaps this skill is more task-managing than multi-tasking.

Consider two tasks that you believe you are working on simultaneously, perhaps reading this blog while on the phone with an employee. Are you truly engaged with both activities? One will always suffer. Your attention to each activity will constantly be switching back and forth, and we have gotten very skilled at doing this quickly! Is this the most productive way to work? Multi-tasking may create the illusion of getting more done and more tasks may be getting checked off your list, but the work simply cannot beat the quality if you were completing one task at a time.

IMPACT virtual assistants often have multiple clients, so we place a high importance on whether or not someone can manage multiple projects and deadlines. That being said, we also expect quality work that goes above and beyond the expectations of our clients. By using a task management program, assistants are able to document their tasks by time blocks and send reports to their clients. Many are under the impression that certain reoccurring tasks take more or less time than they actually do, so this is a very valuable tool. And while we believe in a high level of communication, we do not traditionally offer phone service. If an assistant is constantly answering the phone it is interrupting the momentum and quality of their work.

How you can eliminate the interruptions in your work life? Turn off email notifications and have calls automatically sent to voice-mail when working on a project. Block off time for catching up on those inevitable tasks that pop up every day. And build in cushion time for transitions and the inevitable roadblock. When adding more hours to your day isn’t an option, it is time to increase the efficiency of your work. Rethink whether or not you are truly multi-tasking and be prepared to defend this skill on your resume as many clients and employers believe this isn’t doing them any favors.