According to some studies, including this one by the Stanford University, multitasking is not all that we have thought it to be.
Like most people, many times I considered myself to be fairly good at multitasking. But scientists say that I’m simply kidding myself.
a fallen angel
As we are able to simplify our lives with all sorts of gadgets, and as we try to not miss an email, to keep up with a TV show, to replay that YouTube video, to fit it all in our day and so forth, in the end, we call ourselves multitaskers.
But what the scientists across the world has now come to agree is that, multitasking can actually be the reason most people experience high emotional issues. Issues that can lead to more health challenges.
As people, more than ever in our history, our attention span has fallen. I remember when I was being trained on how to write content for people online, I was advised to write short and not-so-boring articles.
The reason is, most people don’t read. They simply scan the content and move on. They are busy. They are after the next thing. They are multitaskers. But wait a minute,
- Do they remember what they scan a day after?
- As they are on a rush, does that mean they are more productive as well?
- And does that mean they have an eye to detail as well – that’s why they don’t have to read it all?
Well, this post is going to tell you all that… and that’s if you are reading, yeah… you know what I mean?
are women better at multitasking?
There is also a myth that women are actually better at multitasking than men. But while it’s true that women can slightly perform better at multitasking tests, the unexpected truth is that most of us are not only poor at multitasking, but we also accumulate other effects as we practice this habit not so suitable for our brains.
Multitasking is a big lie that most people have repeated it to themselves to the point that it almost feels as if it’s a skill. In fact, some employers expect their potential employees to have the so-called ‘multitasking skills‘ – or what I now know to be the ability to perform poorly at many tasks at a time.
However, there is a test you can do to see whether you have a chance at multitasking like the fraction of the population; or like the majority of us, you should as well ‘forgetaboutit‘. This test is organised by David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah.
so, do you consider yourself to be a multitasker?
Well, if you do, then come with me as I list for you the 10 reasons as to why you should forget about this habit, for good.
1. poor concentration
Do you find it hard to concentrate?
Do you find it difficult to organize yourself so that you can be better at concentration?
Well, the studies show that multitasking reduces focus which in turn…
2. harms your performance
If you want to improve your performance over time, multitasking isn’t the way to it.
The reason is simple, if you can’t focus, then you can be effective.
And that means your productivity will not go up but down. But even more, multitasking…
3. diminishes your memory
As multitaskers never switch off completely from one activity to another, with time, the retained information is very little.
The studies show that young people tend to fall in this category more than others.
4. lowers creativity
In their study, Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore, the Harvard researchers found out that multitaskers were less creative compared to those who didn’t multitask.
They also found out that multitasking…
5. reduces your power to problem solving
In their book Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, Dr. Hammerness and Moore, also found out that multitaskers are poor problem solvers.
This poor habit does more than that. It…
6. makes you as smart as an 8 year old
A study at the University of London found that participants who multi-tasked… IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night…. the average range of an 8-year-old child.
That’s not all. Multitasking…
7. takes away your happiness
I think this is an obvious point.
If multitasking makes you less productive, ineffective, not that creative, with poor concentration then there is no PROGRESS.
And to me, personal progress is the reason that most of us are happy in our careers and businesses.
But then, the studies report that multitasking leads to…
8. poor organizational skills
Multitaskers cannot sit and plan their day. There is no point to do it as it all going to get distracted, anyway.
But you and I know well that if you can organise yourself well, then you can plan well for your life as well.
And that failing to plan is planning to fail.
The thing is, poor organisational skills leads to something else:
9. poor attention to detail
A person who multitasks finds it hard to sort out the crucial details from the pile of chaos. They find the task, if you asked them to, stressing.
But how can we achieve excellence if we don’t have the attention to detail?
The simple answer is, we can’t.
A multitasker can’t achieve or even aim for excellence because inside him/her, there is another thing to deal with.
10. poor awareness
The studies have also shown that the multitaskers have poor awereness of what’s going on around them.
In fact, they are not only unaware when it comes to social environment, but some are even unaware of themselves.
Probably this explains why most of the road accidents these days are caused by multitaskers.
so what’s the solution?
Monotasking is the answer.
That’s, find the one thing that you want to do today and do that thing first until it’s completed.
Tools like diaries and to-do-lists can help us focus, stay put, and achieve something worth sharing in the end.
Multitasking not only damages our careers but also our brains. It’s not only bad for our current progress but for whatever we call our future. That’s why focus is the answer.
As a writer, I know how easy it is to get distracted. So to make sure I keep my eye on the ball, to make sure that I follow through what I’m up to, I do the following:
1. I’ve a digital watch with two timers – one for the time to do what I’ve to do, the other for the break between the activities.
2. I force myself into following my timers, no matter what. As a result I see progress that in the past was just a dream.
4. I also have a schedule of when and what I should be writing, researching, listening, watching, and so on.
3. I also try my best to switch off completely writing/researching to something else, like playing intensively with my kids, running for about 3 miles – like I’d do as soon as I finish writing this.
4. I try my best to only do what I want to do. This helps me stay focused because my whole body and mind loves what’s in front of me.
5. I have set times to a number of activities:
– come up with ideas for my writing projects
– to connect with other people online
– to connect with other writers
– to read
– and to think
What works for you?
Do you get most done by being a multitasker?
What are your thoughts on these scientific findings?
Let me know.