The Science behind Multitasking

There are some facts about multitasking that have been proven by science. Once you see the facts, you’ll realize that you need to stop multitasking now if you want to truly boost not only your productivity but also the quality of your work.

Brain Splitting

When we try to do more than one task at a time, we really do not focus on the tasks very well. In fact, we focus half on one and half on the other. Remember that switching between tasks isn’t multitasking – it’s switching. Then when you switch back, you have to take the time again to get back on track with what you were doing to start with. (brainfacts.org)

Habits

There is one exception to the above and that comes with developing habits. One good example is driving. When you first start driving you have a hard time steering, working the break, the gas, and paying attention. But, after a while as you gain experience, you don’t even remember the commute home from work. This is because driving becomes a habit. But don’t add in things that keep your eye off the road, or you’ll interrupt the habit. (livescience.com)

Context Switching

Forcing your brain to switch from one thing to another that’s in a totally different context is actually very taxing. It can increase stress, and confusion. If you’ve ever met an “absent-minded professor” type of person, it will seem as if their lights are off when you ask them a question. But, in truth they’re just trying to switch context in their brain.

It takes time to switch, especially if you were focused at first. Doing this over and over, as is the case with multitasking, is very difficult for the human brain to do. It will cut down on not only productivity but also the quality of the work completed. (sciencefriday.com)

Short-Term Memory Issues

Scientists at the University of Michigan and the University of California agree that multitasking can also stress the brain so much that it can cause short-term memory problems. If you find yourself not being able to remember things, and have important issues falling through the cracks, consider whether or not you are biting off more than you can chew and trying to do too much at once.

There Is No Such Thing as a Good Multitasker

Researchers at the National Academy of Sciences (NASS) conducted studies that showed that even people who believe they are “good” at multitasking, and do it every day, are bad at it. Not only that – the people who actually do multitask most are reducing their productivity by about 50 percent by continuing to multitask.

People who believe they are bad at multitasking try to avoid it, but people who think they’re good at it consider it a skill. One, ironically, that they’re actually not good at.

Children Do Poorly at Homework While Watching TV

Homework, studying, and TV don’t go together. In fact, anyone (including students) should find ways to focus 100 percent on anything they want to learn and retain. Just getting it done while watching TV, texting, and doing other thing costs students dearly in terms of understanding subject matter and test performance. (NASS)

It all comes down to the fact that if you want to do something right, you need to focus on it 100 percent. You’ll increase productivity and produce a higher level of quality than you can if you’re insistent on multitasking. The bottom line is, focus, and learn how to do your best at each thing you do.

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