Tired of hearing your employees coordinating after-school pickup or arranging a plumber’s visit on company time? Before you send out that sharply-worded memo, consider this: Pausing work to conduct personal business may actually improve productivity.
A new study by SAGE finds that, in an era when our work and home lives are getting more mixed up, such task-switching is a skill people need to practice. Researchers suggest we have a finite store of “executive control resources,” the mental energy to focus on and complete tasks.
People who swap context more frequently—like closing that spreadsheet to arrange a babysitter—appear to get less flustered by each switch, making them more adept at multi-tasking.