Most of us consider multitasking to be a vital part of life. How could we possibly satisfy the demands of our over-scheduled, frantic lifestyles any other way?
Well, let me break it to you; sadly, there is no such thing as multitasking. It is a myth.
You might be thinking “what about the time when I read while listening to music?” and “drive while on the phone (hands-free, of course)”, or “text when in a meeting”?
According to neuroscience research, the brain does not do tasks concurrently as we imagined and hoped. In reality, we simply switch tasks fast. The brain goes through a stop/start procedure every time we switch from listening to music to writing a text to talk to someone.
The Downside of Multitasking:
That start/stop/start cycle is difficult for us. It wastes time rather than saving it (even very small microseconds). It is less efficient as our brain jumbles up small details at times and we end up making more mistakes.
- Taking More Time
Every single time we switch, there is a cost. It is draining. It is taking longer to do the same thing.
Furthermore, studies have shown that multitasking causes the brain to take four times longer to notice new items, further delaying task completion.
Also, we end up having a considerably worse memory rate for what we learn.
- Divided Attention
As a result of completing so many jobs in such a short period, you may have attention residue, which occurs when you are still thinking about a previous activity even though you have moved on to another piece of work.
Multitasking is harmful to your mental health. It has become more damaging since the era of working remotely has begun. According to our findings, seven out of every ten multi-tasking workers (71%) experienced burnout at least once in the previous year.
This means burnout and multitasking go hand in hand.
How To Stop Multitasking:
Monotasking is usually always more effective: focus on one activity and move on when finished to avoid paying excessive switching charges.
- Less stress = single-tasking. When you exert extra effort to multitask, you become weary and fall behind on your tasks. When you focus on one task at a time, you are more likely to enter a state of flow, complete what you set out to do, and, as a result, minimize your workplace stress levels.
- Single-tasking forces you to concentrate on what you “should” do rather than what you “could” do. Choosing something to focus your entire concentration on means saying no to other responsibilities. This not only allows you to prioritize your most critical tasks, but it can also help you regain your focus.
- Doing only one item at a time will help you become more creative. Single-tasking may appear to be restricting. However, limits might increase creativity. According to a study, when resources are few, we give ourselves “the freedom to use those resources in less conventional ways—because we have to.”
So, the next time you think you’re multitasking, pause and realize you’re switch-tasking. Then set a time limit for yourself (10 minutes, 45 minutes?) and concentrate on just one task to see whether you can finish it better, faster, and with less energy.