As this country has claimed the title of most overworked populace in the world, we have picked up some nasty habits. This phenomena has been aided in large part by mutlitasking. We have all heard of it, and have been encouraged (or even forced) to adopt it as a "best practice" in our working lives. The truth is, however, that multitasking actually decreases efficiency and productivity while helping to increase overall stress levels.
By focusing on multiple things at once, we are allowing some level of inefficiency given the fact that our lack of a singular focus will cause mistakes across a spectrum of tasks, rather than a single task. This, of course, means we (or someone else for that matter) have to spend more time cross-checking our mistakes across several tasks, which adds cost to our given end-products. If we stop there, we have already built in more effort for a given task thanks to multitasking than if we had simply focused on a single task at a time. Since we are not alone in this waste of time, there is the very real chance that any mistake might not get noticed. Therefore, any efforts to rectify mistakes due to multitasking are factored exponentially since they are compounded as they progress.
I know what you're saying. Given the ability to have constant, instant information updates thanks to technological advances, multitasking has become paramount in our everyday lives. Well, I have to disagree. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well. And if you're chatting on your bluetooth headset while texting someone and IM'ing a few other people, all while trying to update a couple office documents and check the latest stock market quotes, you are bound to make mistakes. So the next time you are tempted to engage in multitasking, stop; take a deep breath, finish the task at hand, and move onto the next task, because not only will you get a lot more done, you will get a lot more done right.