Uni-Tasking vs. Multi-Tasking

This is a great article by my mom, a time management expert. Hope you enjoy!


Multi-tasking was the darling of time management experts in days gone by. Now that we’ve had time to study multi-tasking, research has shown that it may not be as efficient as we thought.

Studies have shown that when we jump from task to task, it takes time to regain focus. Trying to do two tasks at once, with at least one requiring concentration, reduces the quality of work.

For tasks that require concentration, uni-tasking is best. Taking a break every 45 minutes or so refreshes your brain. A quiet place to work without interruptions or distractions increases productivity and efficiency.

There are definitely times and places for multi-tasking, though. These occur when tasks at hand are low-risk – what I like to call mindless activities. They can be interrupted and don’t require great concentration.

At the office, shredding, filing, straightening your desk, deleting emails, etc., might be done while on hold or during casual phone conversations. At home, many household chores can be done while on the phone, watching TV, etc.

A key question to ask is whether interruptions will cause you to lose your focus and/or productivity. An interruption while dusting is not a problem, but an interruption while writing a proposal or working on a project can derail your train of thought.

Knowing when to uni-task and when to multi-task is an essential time management skill!

By Bev Coggins