Although the idea is very popular, multi-tasking is actually a myth. When you do two or more things "at once," you're actually switching from task to task in a linear fashion. If you're a knowledge worker, this lack of focus and concentration — "flow" — will decrease your productivity. And that's not a mere assertion: that's science.
In a keynote address to Cluecon 2009 (video here), a conference for Voice over IP ("VoIP," otherwise known as Internet Telephony) developers, I discuss the problems associated with VoIP. In particular, VoIP makes it possible to put telephones into all sorts of locations, including light switches and car keys. Given that phones interrupt our concentration, and interrupting our concentration reduces our productivity, can VoIP ever be more than just a terrible mistake? (The answer, by the way, is a somewhat-qualified "yes.")
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