Why Multitasking Is Bullshit

“Must be able to multitask!” “Are you a multitasking master?” “Must be quick, efficient, and able to multitask…”

It’s a pretty standard line on kitchen job postings, especially production positions (as distinct from line or service jobs.) The ideal candidate for any given production job is quick, clean, polite, efficient, honest, methodical, able to be coached but also a self-starter… and possesses this legendary ability to split their focus across several tasks but perform them all flawlessly.

People like that do exist- I have trained a few of them- but that seemingly unique ability to multitask does not exist. Not on a mental level and, in fact, not even on the physical level. Regularly attempting to divide your attention across several tasks can lead to mental fatigue and even damaging your brain.

Why do people keep asking employees to do it, then? Why do people brag about “being a multitasker,” and more importantly, how can we fix the damage it causes?

a young woman with long hair presses her fingers to her temples surrounded by books at a library table
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