There’s a great quote over at The pernicious thinking behind multi-tasking.
Note the admission that required multi-tasking is an implicit means to avoid conflicts around setting priorities.
I’ve been doing a bunch of multitasking talks this year (and suggesting ways for people to say no), and have written about it in Successful Project Management. (I did rename the section that originally said, “Multitasking is the root of all evil.”) When I talk about it, and tell people it makes no sense, at least part of the time they say “Ooh.” Too many people have no idea what the cost of multitasking is.
But the conflict avoidance part is because management, especially senior management is unwilling to make the hard decisions about what’s most important to do. That’s unacceptable. Managers are the only people who can make these most strategic decisions.
Multitasking guarantees your project will be late. If managers don’t make the decisions, project staff will. And it won’t be the way the managers want it.