Publication Detail

A Conceptual Typology of Multitasking Behavior and Polychronicity Preferences


Journal Article

Sustainable Transportation Center

Available online at:

Suggested Citation:
Circella, Giovanni, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Laura K. Poff (2012) A Conceptual Typology of Multitasking Behavior and Polychronicity Preferences. Electronic International Journal of Time Use Research 9 (1), 59 - 107

This paper introduces a conceptual framework for the systematic analysis of multitasking behavior, and the corresponding degree of preference for doing multiple activities simultane­ously (polychronicity). A typology of multitasking is developed along the two dimensions “share of time” and “share of resources” allocated to each task. We discuss the heterogeneous nature of resources and the importance of the time scale and time granularity used for measuring multitasking, among other considerations. An illustrative library of examples of multitasking situations is provided. Finally, we discuss the measurement of polychronicity as a time- and context-dependent vector, rather than as a single score.

Keywords: multitasking, polychronicity, time use, personality, attitudes