Human Multitasking

Experiment the impact of multitasking over individual productivity


Description

Participants play with writing a series of names in different ways. This is to experiment on how jumping from one task to another affects their performance. It impacts in a negative way both their efficiency and effectiveness. This activity helps them understand when and how they lose energy. This energy is much needed to reach daily objectives on a long term.

Flow

Introduction

  • Introduce the activity to the participants.
  • Ask for 2 volunteers. The rest of the group will observe this experiment.
  • Run this activity in the main room of the videoconferencing app.
  • Provide the activity link to the volunteers.

Work

  • There are 2 ways in which one can write the predefined series of 8 names within the prepared framework.
    • Approach A: write down the names horizontally; in other words, write one name at a time, in one row. You write the entire name, then you move on to the next row
    • Approach B: write the names vertically; write in the first column the first letter of each name. Then you move to the second column, to write there the second letter from each name. And so on…
  • Flip a coin to find out which one of the two volunteers will proceed according to approach A.
  • Mention the fact that keeping the order of the names is essential too!
  • The activity is complete when one of the two volunteers finishes the task and asks the observers/trainer/co-trainer to stop the timer.
  • As a variation here, you can run this activity in 2 rounds. That way, participants can experiment with writing the names in both ways.

Debrief (suggested)

  • The facilitator may ask the following questions:
    • How satisfied are you with the result?
    • What were the challenges? Did you overcome them? How?
    • How did the approach you followed (A/B) influence your focus?
    • Does this happen to you at work, as well?
    • (if the activity is run in two rounds) When did you feel most comfortable – when playing according to approach A or B? Why?

Variations

n/a

Additional info

This activity follows activity type guide from CARTA

Play in Colltrain

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Human multitasking - Colltrain Library - Activity Description - en
Human multitasking - Colltrain Library - Activity Description - ro

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