On the surface, multitasking seems like a good idea. Why not do two, or even three things at the same time, instead of one? It may sound good in theory, but when it comes to real life, multitasking isn’t that effective. In fact, it is probably killing your productivity without you knowing it.
Here are a few reasons why you should not try to multitask:
1. Our brains are not wired to multitask
You might think you’re a great multitasker and probably even add it on your resume. But science says otherwise. It’s a fact – our brains are not wired to multitask. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re a multitasking extraordinaire because we can text a friend and watch football at the same time. In the work world, you’re probably engaged in higher-level tasks than watching the big game while texting – so the multitasking technique won’t translate into increased productivity on the job.
Studies show that multitasking is ineffective because the brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time. Switching back and forth between tasks causes you to miss important details and never allows you to concentrate on a singular task. Studies show it can take as long as 20 minutes to get your mind fully reengaged into a task after being interrupted.
2. You’re not really multitasking
We may be able to multitask physically (chew gum and fold laundry), but there’s really no such thing as multitasking when it comes to cognitive tasks. What you’re doing is known as task-switching. Back and forth. Task-switching depletes your mental energy at a quicker rate and never allows you to “get in the zone.” The bottom line: it’s draining and inefficient. Experts say it’s best to do things in batches. Give all your attention and focus to that report, then check your email.
3. You’re prone to mistakes and stressing out
Switching back and forth between tasks at a rapid rate while trying to focus on more than one thing at a time is a recipe for disaster. Your brain and body are in a state of chaos, which leads to errors and stress. Two things that certainly won’t earn you that big promotion you’re working towards, right?
The different research-based revelations published by The University of Texas at Austin (research carried out by Susan Broniarczyk) support this statement. Participants that were multitasking not only suffered from negative feelings and much more stress, but they also were less capable of containing information and good decision-making, which lead them to perform worse.
The lesson is simple – multitasking is overrated. You’ll be happier and more productive if you avoid it.
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