From the desk of Charlotte dentist Dr. Richard Van Gurp:
Chances are that while you are reading this article, you are also performing another task. Perhaps you are watching television or making dinner. You’re trying to save time by doing more than one thing at once.
We call this multi-tasking but in reality we really can’t do two things at once and give each task our complete focus. What we are actually doing is “task-switching” and it is not as efficient as you might think. In fact, research shows there are some problems associated with task-switching.
It actually takes more time to complete a task if you are task-switching than if you do them one at a time. If time is not an issue for you, then I guess that’s not a problem. But research shows that you will tend to make more errors when you switch than if you do one task at a time. And if the tasks are complex, then these time and error penalties increase.
For some things that we do, task switching may not really matter. Like I said, if you are cooking dinner while reading this article, perhaps you will add not enough or a little too much of an ingredient or maybe forget an ingredient all together. While it may affect the final taste of the dish it certainly isn’t life threatening. On the other hand, you may focus less on this article and get little from it.
The downside of task-switching is why I would tell my children that they cannot do homework and watch television at the same time. It’s why state law forbids texting and driving.
Personally, knowing the downside of task-switching is why at the very foundation of my dental practice, I treat just one patient at time. I believe my patients expect me to give them my undivided attention in a non-hurried environment. My goal is to give each patient my best dentistry each and every time, whether it be a routine dental visit or a complex restorative procedure.
Face it, dentistry done well is meticulous and it requires focus. And, dentistry done well looks better, feels better and lasts longer. So in my office, instead of multi-tasking or task switching, “single tasking” is the norm. My patients expect this and they deserve it.
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