In our modern hyper era many of us might feel tempted to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Doing more than one thing at a time might seem productive at first glance. However, research and experience show that it undermines productivity. Research from Project Management Institute shows that multitasking costs organizations globally US$450 billion in lost productivity each year. Research from the field of psychology also shows that you are more likely to make errors when you multitask.
The nature of work has changed significantly throughout human history. This happened as the work environment itself has changed. Machines now handle more and more physical and repetitive tasks instead of humans, and more and more human tasks are cognitive in nature – i.e. they involve critical thinking and intellectual toiling rather than hard physical work. As a sign of this, in many developed economies today the services sector is the one contributing the most to overall output, and workers with higher skill levels receive higher payment (skill premium). Moreover, since millions of years ago, human beings have been gathering in larger and larger groups. Given all of those circumstances, it is often the case today that job complexity prevents a single individual from accomplishing a demanding task on his own without any collaboration from others. Hence, there is now more focus on team work and team performance in almost all fields from waging businesses to warfare to the hospitality industry.