Multitasking has a tendency to be praised highly in our society; we’re encouraged to do this by our teachers and our parents when we’re younger, our bosses and superiors as we get older, and even in our daily life. But, is it actually good for us, or is it hurting us?
Despite what teachers and parents have been telling kids for a long time, our brains were only meant to do one thing at a time.
According to neuroscientists, we negatively affect our productivity and mental performance when we try to multitask.
> Multitasking is reducing your efficiency and your mental performance.
When we multitask, we’re pulling our attention in too many different directions to be able to devote the necessary focus and attention to the important task at hand.
Earl Miller, MIT neuroscientist and leading expert on human cognition, attention, and learning said: “When we toggle between tasks, the process often feels seamless, but in reality, it requires a series of small shifts.”
When you experience these small shifts as you jump from task to task, you’re draining brain energy and resources. A study conducted by the University of California furthers Miller’s point, discovering that it takes about 23 minutes and 15 seconds for the average person to refocus after being interrupted. Here are four areas of major concern:
1. Neuroscientists recommend avoiding multitasking!
“It ruins productivity, causes mistakes and impedes creative thought […] As humans, we have a very limited capacity for simultaneous thought, we can only hold a little bit of information in the mind at any single moment.”
2. Multitasking can actually lead to permanent brain damage!
A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that “high multi-taskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex,” the region of the brain that controls empathy and emotions.
This study suggests that multitasking, and multitasking through media devices in particular, could permanently alter the structure of our brains after continuous use.
3. Multitasking is killing your concentration and focus!
The very same regions of the brain that we need in order to stay focused are easily distracted, as well. Every time we multitask, be it scrolling various social media feeds, checking texts or emails, etc., we train our brains to get distracted and easily lose focus.
“Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation,” according to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin.
Just like with drugs and stress, your brain can get addicted to the rush of dopamine switching tasks and losing focus causes. Once that’s started, it becomes increasingly hard to break the habit and kick the addiction.
4. Multitasking causes you to become overwhelmed and burnt out!
Levitin also said that multitasking taxes our brains and drains energy.
“Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain,” he said.
If you find that you’re easily burnt out by your tasks and getting easily overwhelmed, it’s time to cut back on the multitasking. Then you’ll avoid feeling constantly tired, even after plenty of rest.
> How to prevent this from happening
It can be hard to get out of the habit of multitasking; most of us have had it deeply ingrained in our regular routine since we were small children. There are a few regular practices you can do, however, to help you ease out of it:
● Keep your work area distraction-free; keep phones, tablets, etc. out of sight and out of mind.
● Focus on one task at a time and allow yourself a break every hour and a half or so to allow your brain to re-energize and focus better.
● Avoid multitasking at all costs.
We were always busy and productive yet our results showed a different story. Of course, we got things done. However, now that we’ve curtailed multitasking down to a minimum our true productivity in our Biz has shot through the roof!
That’s the power of Awareness!
— Squelch multitasking and get your systems set up for a real home biz.
See You on the Side of Success!
Elaine & Helen