Did you know that researchers at Michigan State University as well as the Navy have determined that people make double, sometimes even triple their errors immediately after they are interrupted? This includes diversions of only a few seconds. Three-second distractions doubled errors in a study while 4.5 second interruptions tripled them.
This is attributed to what scientists call the “resumption lag.” This includes the practice of multi-tasking, which is essentially a cycle of interruptions and resumptions. Interruptions all act as a brake to the momentum of the brain. In other words, your train of thought stands to get derailed.
So what can we learn from this? Try to limit distractions when working on something that you minimize your mistakes. Turn off the phone, close the door, shut down the email, and by all means don’t multi-task, because although you may be able to multi-task, you can’t multi-focus.