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How many IQ points do you drop when multi-tasking? Time Management

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How many IQ points do you drop when multi-tasking? The answer (insert drum roll…) – 10Multitasking points! That's right, a whole 10 points according to a British study. When people tried to juggle messages through e-mail and/or chat with work they loss the same amount of IQ points as if they had missed an entire nights sleep. And more than double the four points loss through smoking marijuana! And get this, men lose more IQ points than women.

Studies have shown that our brains switch between one activity and another (called executive control). We really don't do two things at once very well. The more complex the task like browsing the web and talking on the phone, or driving and talking on the phone, the more difficult it becomes to switch quickly. Slower switching can mean more than just lack of productivity, it can mean life or death.

So what is the answer – FOCUS. See the following past posts below for some solid time management tips to help you keep the focus. What have you done as a leader in your organization to help create focus?

If you believe someone would enjoy and benefit from this post, please share it. Just hover your mouse over the below "Share/Save" button and you will see lots of options for sharing it with friends including email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks!


Eat a Frog as Mark Twain Suggested – Perfect Time Management Tip

Time Management – Two Important Things I Learned this Last Week

Time Management – Two Important Things I Learned this Last Week – Part II

Time Management Tips That Could Change Your Life – Part I

Part II – Time Management Tips That Could Change Your Life

Mike Rogers

CNN Article "E-mails 'hurt IQ more than pot.'" April 22, 2005

Leave a Comment

  • Jack Vincent March 5, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Great point! Many people sing their own praises about their ability to multi-task, and then they miss the deeper meaning of important discussions, etc. I once heard a prominent CEO say, “When people are working on their Blackberries in meetings I lead or meetings I participate in, I tell them, ‘How would you like me to start reading a newspaper right here and now? It’s no different.'” Hear! Hear!

  • Debra Brown March 5, 2010, 6:08 pm

    Mike, I read your entire post. Bravo! I chuckled when I remember a comment made by a seminar participant last October. His boss asked why he was continuing to text message her…wasn’t she paying for him to be in a seminar that day? Shouldn’t he be paying attention? I really appreciated that boss’ support. I truly believe our productivity is suffering when we overly multi-task. I would be interested in getting the name of the British study so I can add it to my database. Thanks.

  • Mike Rogers March 5, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Thanks Debra and Jack. Debra, you can access the article that references the study in a CNN Article “E-mails ‘hurt IQ more than pot.'” April 22, 2005

  • Shannon Gburzynski March 8, 2010, 12:28 pm

    Fascinating article, thanks for sharing this research. We would all love to think that we can do 100 things at once, and be mean multitasking working machines, this reminds us we can’t do it all, all the time.

  • Mike Rogers March 8, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Thanks Shannon. It’s almost like the word multi-tasking is cool for some people. But the reality is you aren’t as effective as you think : )

  • Ray Yagubyan May 18, 2013, 7:48 am

    Helpful info. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this accident didn’t happened prematurely! I bookmarked it.


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