How Multitasking Isn't All That and Why You Should Stop

The ability to multitask has long been considered as a boastful quality by many. It is something almost everyone does these days. And while most believe that they are good at multitasking, and perhaps to some degree you are, the fact of the matter is that multitasking only works well for tasks that don’t require much of brainpower. You can probably listen to music while watching T.V and answering back on the phone at the same time. However, most of this probably didn’t require brainpower at all.

These days almost everyone is addicted to email and text messages. Be it workers at office or students in a class, most of us are distracted by the constant flow of information being passed around. A study conducted by the University of London revealed that constant breaking away from tasks to check your emails or text messages reduces the mental sharpness of individuals. Researchers found that around 62% of people generally checked their messages while at work and 21% admit to interrupt their work or a meeting in order to do so. This addiction to emails and text messages is called ‘infomania’ or ‘chronic multitasking’ and is known to reduce productivity as much as 40%.

It is a known fact that the human brain isn’t capable of multi-tasking, despite our opposing belief. In fact, multitasking is more harmful in the long run and known to slow down the brain functions. It is easy to assume that multitaskers will outperform non-multitaskers, given their habit of switching among tasks and filtering irrelevant information while using their working memory. However the results are quite contrary. Those who focus on a single activity are more productive than those multitasking and using their brains less effectively.

Considering Multitasking a Strength
A study conducted in 2010 by neuroscientists at a French medical research agency showed that each side of the human brain tackles a different task which enables us to focus on only two similar tasks simultaneously. So we don’t really multitask, but just switching our focus rapidly between tasks, interrupting our own productivity and losing time in the process. Our brains are not equipped to deal with two dissimilar tasks, especially when each one requires the same amount of concentration.

Taking on more tasks stresses the brain, increases the chance of errors and drops the IQ by 10% on average. This has almost the same as losing a good night sleep. So instead of switching between tasks every minute, it is better to focus on one task for a dedicated few minutes before moving to the next one. Multitasking is rather a weakness and not a strength. An average professional is known to spend approximately 23% of his day checking and sending emails at regular intervals. The more you multitask, the less competent you become. In fact in reality it works against you.

Downside of Giving Up on Multitasking?
In order to become more productive, it is essential to minimize multitasking so you are able to focus on one task for a longer period of time. Try it! You will notice being able to make significant progress on challenging projects, your stress level will drop drastically, you will have more patience and you will enjoy your work to a greater extent. To be honest, there is no downside of giving up on multitasking. It might be hard to resist but eventually you will learn that single-tasking will make you more productive and relaxed in the long run.


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