Multitasking: The art of messing up several things at once
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” — Alexander Graham Bell
Multitasking is not an ideal option always. It can be explained with an example of 4 equal time duration tasks as shown in the image. The yellow task takes 1 unit of time when done sequentially, whereas it takes just over 3 units when switching through tasks. This will also cause a spillover effect for the person dependent on the yellow task. The duration will also increase when we add the “transition time” in multitasking, which has been ignored in the image.
In addition to this, there are mental costs as well associated with the frequent transition between tasks as our brain is not programmed to multitask.
Hence, the “yellow task” which could be completed in 1 unit of time, actually took 3.25 units of time because of multitasking.
PS: People still go ahead and do multitasking because of the marginal utility of satisfaction derived by doing each unit of the different tasks in a certain period of time.