So……you think you are good at doing several things at once? Think again!
Each time we quickly switch back and forth, our brain must stop and then start; this process is rough on us! Rather than saving time, multitasking actually adds time, is less efficient, we make more mistakes and it sucks our daily limited supply of energy. You know how I like to manage my energy! 🙂
Long-term reliance on multitasking makes our brain loose the ability to focus effectively on a single task well. We are left with our brain only knowing how to skip and jump around. Are you finding yourself squirreling a lot? This might be why!
Here are eight ways multitasking makes you less, not more, efficient:
- You are making mistakes. Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. Yikes!
- It is stressing you out! U.C. Irvine researchers found that employees with constant access to office email stayed in a perpetual high alert mode with higher heart rates then those who set boundaries and didn’t access their email during non-working hours.
- You’re suffering in-attentional blindness. People who are busy doing two things at once don’t see the obvious things right in front of them. University of Washington performed an experiment in which 75% of the students who walked across campus while talking or texting didn’t see a clown riding a unicycle nearby. Okay, that’s a little scary.
- It’s making you stupid. Interrupting one task to suddenly focus on another effects your short-term memory. Since you are not concentrating fully, you easily forget details. A UK study, showed that distracted workers suffered a 10-point loss in their IQ compared to a four-point loss of people who performed the same tasks after smoking marijuana.
- It’s damaging your relationships. This has a bigger effect than most people realize…..If you’re having a serious conversation and your significant other receives a text and says, “I need to check this,” it shuts down communication and damages the potential for deep and meaningful connections.
- It’s killing your ability to think creatively. Because multitasking requires use of your short-term working memory storage, it takes away your ability to think creatively on problems that need solving. Did you know that those who think they are good at multitasking find it harder to daydream and generate introspective “a ha” moments.
- It leaves you unsatisfied. The interruptions from switching makes work unsatisfying because you are not performing each task as well as you would if you didn’t have to switch from task to task.
- It causes you to gain weight. When you’re distracted while eating, it can prevent your brain from processing what you’ve eaten, causing you to not feel as full, and you tend to keep eating or eat again in a short time period.
So the next time you’re multi-tasking…STOP! Give yourself 10 minutes to 45 minutes to focus on one task at a time so you can complete it better, faster, and with less energy.