A growing body of research shows that people who try to manage more than one unrelated task at the same time typically don't perform as well; drivers chatting on cell phones, for instance, take longer to reach their destinations, a 2008 University of Utah study found.
“That’s the myth of multitasking,” says Edward Hallowell, MD, ADHD specialist and author of CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Handling Your Fast-Paced Life. “It’s like playing tennis with two balls: Your game’s not as good as it would be with one ball.”
Strive to give each task your full attention. Dr. Hallowell tells of a lawyer who negotiated an amazing deal. Later, the adversaries couldn’t believe they’d agreed to such terms. The savvy lawyer’s secret? He focused on the deal only, while the other team checked their PDAs.
You can achieve this type of focus if you go lineardo one thing at a time, moving from one task to the next. Try it: Instead of talking on the phone while answering emails and helping your child do homework, go linear; it won’t take longer and you’ll be sharper.