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Task Saturation is Dangerous

by Scot Herrick on November 27th, 2006

Are you overworked? I mean really overworked, not just saying you are overworked? How can you tell?

If you are really overworked, there tends to be three main coping mechanisms used by people to compensate:

  1. Shutting down. You stop working, start socializing, or just leave work.
  2. Compartmentalize. You make lists, check them twice, and then start doing one thing at a time.
  3. Channelize. Here you focus on just one thing at a time. Not what is most important in compartments, but just one thing.

If you are displaying these types of behaviors, you are saturated with tasks. Unfortunately, people often are very proud of the fact that they are totally overworked.

Businesses, instead, should recognize that task saturation means nothing much gets done making the situation even worse.

This explanation was the first time I had seen what happens to individuals when there is simply too much to do. It comes, not surprisingly, from analysis done in the military where task saturation would be exceptionally dangerous during a combat mission.

Take a look at Overcoming the Dangers of Task Saturation.

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POSTED IN: Cube life, GTD, Staying Sane, Survival Skills, Worklife Balance, Workplace Wellness

2 opinions for Task Saturation is Dangerous

  • Jaynie
    Nov 27, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Seriously a great post and it could have been written about me. I am very overworked and not bragging about it, going crazy. I am trying to prioritize so I can be more productive but it keeps on coming in!

  • Scot Herrick
    Nov 29, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I thought it was a great article and finally described what I go through.

    The symptoms described here provided me the motivation to start doing David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. When he says “Getting everything out of your head so you know what you are NOT doing,” I found that following the methodology I don’t have the symptoms above.

    Of course, pounding in to much stuff by the management team is still pounding in too much stuff…

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