On any given day, a recruiter’s plate is piled with endless duties. With resumes, scheduling, job fairs, onboarding, benefits, payroll, job reviews, and more, you have enough to busy your team in perpetuity without ever reaching the bottom of your list. Everyone has a different style for accomplishing to-do lists, and an ongoing debate rages about the path to greatest efficiency. Some people fall in the multi-tasking camp, preferring to juggle several jobs at once. Others favor compartmentalizing their work, accomplishing one thing at a time — also known as task switching.
Is multi-tasking truly beneficial, or does it create scattered inefficiency? Is task-switching the way to achieve optimal efficiency, or it is unrealistic to truly compartmentalize in today’s fast-paced world? Let’s explore both sides of the coin to determine if you and your team are doing too much at once and whether multi-tasking or task switching is more effective.
Done properly, multi-tasking can be extremely efficient when you seek to combine complementary activities. This involves pairing a task that requires focus with a basic task that doesn’t distract from that focus. For example, listening to an industry-related podcast while also updating your contacts list or reviewing resumes yields the greatest multi-tasking results.
However, if you try to accomplish too many tasks at the same time, you can’t fully focus on any of them, which results in an increased level of time, effort and energy spent on tasks that would have taken less time if handled individually. For example, it’s hard to respond to emails while trying to write a job description because it necessitates switching back and forth between each task. Each time you switch from one task to another, your brain needs more processing time to pick up where you left off.
Some call it “mono-tasking.” The idea is to focus all your attention on one thing at a time. Proponents of task switching argue that because multi-tasking is distracting, and that the focus in on quantity over quality when it comes to performing jobs. Task switching helps you prioritize and devote your complete attention to each job until its completion. You’ll be a more effective leader or team member, proponents say, if you allocate time to first review resumes, then catch up on emails, then conduct a meeting (with your computer set to sleep and your phone to “do not disturb”). While multi-tasking is tempting, many argue that strategic delegating can be more effective than continuously adding layers to your schedule.
Which side wins? Each has merit; the decision ultimately rests with the individual and what makes the most sense for optimizing their workday. You likely already have a tendency towards one type of working style over another because it’s intuitive for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering a different way of doing things.
These approaches can also be combined, for example, you might thrive as a multi-tasker for the majority of your day, but you need to drill down with a sole focus when you’re working on something important. There’s no one right or wrong way to accomplish things, so try being open to trying new ways of completing your work to take your efficiency to a new level and optimize the way you perform your job.
Author: Alisiana Peters
Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.