In the age of technology, multitasking has become a habit for many of us. Few are the ones who focus on one task at work or at home. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid multitasking because of the lack of resources, time or our job’s nature requires to complete multiple tasks in a short period. We get calls after calls, we respond to emails, we eat while we watch TV, we check Facebook feeds while we work, and so on.
Although multitasking has been viewed for many years as an excellent skill, researchers warn us of its negative effects.
Multitasking & The Brain
The fact that we can be productive while multitasking is just an illusion. More things done at the same time means more things done badly. Besides, we should ask ourselves “Is it healthy to do multitasking?” Definitely not. Think about how a computer’s speed slows down when you open many tabs; our brain works the same way. Given that our attention is a limited resource, we cannot switch it from one task to another very quickly and have a good performance.
Besides affecting the quality of our work, studies conducted by the specialists of Sussex University highlight the fact that even the simple multitask activities can affect the brain leading to its deterioration. Furthermore, those who tend to multitask have a much lower brain density in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area that is responsible for cognitive and emotional control.
Among these negative effects, specialists include limited creativity and short-term memory problems.
Efficiency or Just a Way to Hinder Your Productivity?
A study by the Harvard Bussiness Review says that doing more tasks at the same time decreases productivity by 40%, while it increases stress and the chances of anxiety episodes. Also, when we switch from one task to another, we end up making more mistakes nearly 50% of the time. Thus, we can say that people do not really multitask, but they rather “jump” from one task to the next, being less productive and less happy with the results or themselves.
Start Avoiding Multitasking
- Focus on one task!– No matter how busy your schedule may be and how impatient you are to finish all of the tasks by 8pm, you should concentrate on one at a time. Contrary to the common belief that it will take you longer to complete your work, actually your performance and productivity will be more efficient.
- Plan your activities. Start with the ones that require more time and energy, set deadlines and have short breaks. Your brain needs to disconnect from work, so a short walk in the park would be ideal.
- Say no when you feel overwhelmed! Do not take more responsibilities and tasks than you can handle. Even though you may want to be helpful and work hard for a promotion, more does not always mean better. You risk to put yourself under pressure while cutting down the chances of delivering a good quality project.
- Remove Distractions! When you are tempted to check mobile apps, news and emails, your brain is asking for some break, which is why you should Plan your activities and have a me-time, but when this happens on a regular basis, you doom your productivity.
By doing less, you will accomplish more!