Multitasking is the practicing of focusing on more than one task at the same time. The term emerged as a popular business buzzword in the 1990s, around the same time that the commercialization of the internet began to transform corporate culture.
At first, multitasking had positive connotations as it was believed that highly productive people could do many tasks currently. However, with time the term has taken on a more negative meaning. In its current usage, it is often used to describe distracted behavior that results in low quality work. Multitasking is also associated with socially inept habits such as failing to focus on a conversation.Research into human error indicates that certain risks jump dramatically as people try to focus on multiple tasks. For example, a driver who is watching a video and texting on a mobile device may have a high risk of causing an accident.
|Definition||The practice of focusing on more than one thing at a time.|
|Origins||The term originates with computer multitasking, a technique of sharing computing resources amongst many programs so that programs are responsive to users and events. Computer multitasking emerged in the 1960s and the term was quickly adopted to describe similar human abilities.|
|Related Definitions||FlowA state of mental concentration that is associated with productivity and reduced human error.||Related Concepts||ProductivityFlowHuman Error|