What are you doing right now? Obviously you’re reading this article, but you might also be listening to music or watching television. Perhaps you’ve also been clearing out your inbox while playing a game of Words with Friends. We’re a nation of multi-taskers, but that doesn’t mean we do it well.
In fact, studies show multi-tasking can decrease productivity by around 40 percent. However it doesn’t need to if you have the right devices.
Work on Large Screens for Easy Multi-Tasking
Large screens are made for multi-tasking. The average 17-inch laptop will display 1,310,720 pixels at its highest resolution. That sounds impressive until you consider that a large 30-inch desktop monitor can display 4,069,000 pixels at its highest resolution. In simple terms, that means the desktop monitor can display more than three times as much information as the laptop. The more information we can simultaneously see, the better our ability to multi-task.
While it’s not highly valued in the workplace, gaming may be one of the greatest examples of multi-tasking. Consider first-person shooter games, for example, which see players responding to threats on the periphery while seeking out a target. Studies even show people who struggle to multi-task can improve their skills through playing these types of games. A recent study showed expert game players could beat others with comparable skills when they played on larger screens. These same gamers typically lost on smaller displays.
Gaming might differ to multi-tasking in the office, but it’s easy to draw parallels. The large displays allowed the victorious gamers to see more information at once. This helped them absorb the “big picture” which led to better strategies.
With more information on the screen, people using larger screens also spend up to 90 percent less time managing their workspace. They don’t need to scroll through as much information, or move applications about to switch between tasks. Think of it as the difference between working with different papers spread out on the conference table or laid out on your cubicle desk.
You might argue that you can’t access your favorite apps on your desktop, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for small when you’re working with them. Instead, just opt for generous screens like those on the Lenovo tablets rather than small smartphones.
Use Multicore Machines to Multi-Task Right
If you’re still hanging on to your ancient computer with its single core processor, it’s time to trade it in. New multicore processors are made for multi-tasking. In fact, the term multi-tasking came from these modern processors. Each core can perform a separate task simultaneously, just as our bosses wish we could!
Choosing a device with a multicore processor allows you to work with several applications at once while background programs like virus protection and synchronization also run. With a single processor, devices become sluggish when users attempt to do too much.
Upgrade Your Memory for More Efficient Multi-Tasking
Image via Flickr by TAKA@P.P.R.S.
While you’re multi-tasking, your device’s CPU must also handle more than one task at a time. When the memory doesn’t have a lot of free space, you’ll notice your device struggles to keep up. It’ll take time to switch between applications and some might even crash, severely hampering your productivity. In contrast, devices with large memories can move from one application to the next without noticeable delays.
Tech giants know multi-tasking is a part of everyday life, so they’re increasing the memories of their tablets and smartphones. The 2GB of RAM found in most high-end smartphones will help you browse with multiple tabs and run several apps at once. It’s worth spending more on these sophisticated devices if you’re a chronic multi-tasker.
Maximise Productivity with Networking Connectivity
The turn of the century doesn’t seem like so long ago, but it’s a lifetime ago when it comes to internet usage.
In 2000, just 26.2 percent of Brits used the internet. The familiar screech of their dial-up modems was followed by comparatively slow browsing speeds which topped 0.05Mbit/s. Today 80 percent of British households have internet access, and most of those have high-speed accounts. Last November, 77 percent of British households with fixed-line broadband enjoyed advertised speeds of up to 10Mbit/s, and 13 percent had “superfast” accounts with up to 30 Mbit/s.
In 2000 we couldn’t have imagined cell phones that did anything more than make calls and send text messages. Today 58 percent of British adults carry smartphones which serve as web browsers, cameras, GPS navigation systems, and games devices. And yes, they still make calls and send text messages.
In 2000, the internet was still something of a curiosity. Today it’s a way of life, an essential part of our work lives and leisure time. Using the internet is an essential part of the way we multi-task. We research online rather than hitting a library, we video chat rather than making a phone call, and we send an email rather than a fax. So when our internet is slow or down altogether, studies show our productivity takes a serious hit.
In a recent survey, 92 percent of managers of large British corporations said their firm relies on internet access. Eighty-six percent added that their company’s internet went down at least once a month. Sixty-eight percent of managers felt slow internet or the inability to access online documents affects their firm’s productivity. Almost 50 percent added these challenges reduced their team’s productivity.
Modern laptops, smart phones, and tablets are often 3G and 4G ready, so they give us a backup when our traditional internet network fails us. Short for third-generation and fourth-generation mobile networks, this technology allows users to access internet on the go. New 3G networks offer average speeds of a little under 2Mb, and maximum advertised speeds of 7.2 Mb. The new 4G networks advertise even faster speeds of between 8 and 12Mb, but it’s worth noting that mobile carriers are still building their 4G networks. You can’t enjoy lightning fast speeds on your 4G device unless you’re in a 4G service area.
With the demands of employers, social networks, and family members to consider, most of us could never contemplate giving up our multi-tasking habit. Instead, it’s important to get the devices that can help us multi-task right.