There is a rule of thumb that says in any company, 20 percent of the employees will give you 80 percent of the top-notch work. Which means the other 80 percent of us are just a waste of company money and vending machine sandwiches.
So why do so few of us really excel at our jobs? Well, science says...
5Our Brains Aren't Made for Multitasking
Are you at work? Stop and count how many windows you have open on your computer screen. Count each tab on your Web browser separately. You've probably got your email open, maybe an Office document, a chat window, Facebook, a Tower Defense flash game. This site. Maybe you're on the phone while you're looking at all that. And depending on what time of day it is, who knows where your blood alcohol count is hovering ...
Sober people do not look that happy while working.
It's all part of life in the modern world, right? Multitasking, we all like to think, comes as naturally as Irish-ing up our coffee on casual Mondays and Tuesdays. Science says you're wrong.
Reputable neuroscientists claim that, for the most part, multitasking is physically impossible. Instead, the brain is able to switch its focus between separate processes really fast. Multitaskers are not saving time by doing multiple tasks at once. They're just segmenting the workload and making it harder to concentrate on any one task enough to actually get it done correctly.
Things get even worse once he adds "drinking" to the queue.
In fact, researchers at Stanford University have found that the more we multitask, the worse we are at it. When tested on memory, ability to switch tasks and ability to focus exclusively on one task, heavy multitaskers (that is, people who reported that they routinely used multiple media at once) scored worse across the board. While non-multitaskers were able to switch their focus completely between tasks, the experienced multitaskers were not able to stop thinking about the other activities while focusing on the job at hand.
In one test, researchers told the subjects to focus on some red rectangles on a computer screen and note changes in position. They then filled the rest of the screen with some useless shapes. A normal person had no problem with the task, but the mutlitaskers couldn't keep from getting distracted by the irrelevant noise. That's right. Multitasking happens to be the one skill that practice makes you worse at. Well, that and the people who consider themselves "heavy multitaskers" also tend to be the type who lose an entire workday every time someone brings a laser pointer into the office. Either way, our projections indicate that if work habits continue on their current path, in 30 years there won't be a single productive employee remaining on earth.
Google corporate HQ, 2047.