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The Myth of Multitasking

If you think your multitasking skills are improving your productivity, think again. Consistent with other multitasking research, a new working paper (ungated version)?by Decio Coviello, Andrea Ichino and Nicola Persico analyzes?a sample of Italian judges with different caseloads and finds that “task juggling, i.e., the spreading of effort across too many active projects, decreases the performance of workers, raising the chances of low throughput, long duration of projects and exploding backlogs.” The authors highlight the role of work scheduling in employee productivity, writing that “[i]ndividual speed of job completion cannot be explained only in terms of effort, ability and experience: work scheduling is a crucial ‘input’ that cannot be omitted from the production function of individual workers.” [%comments]