Do you consider yourself a multitasker? Just about everyone does, and none of us are afraid to brag about it. But you have to ask yourself, are you actually multitasking? Not only that, but we have to consider whether or not it’s a good thing.
Anytime someone questions if we can handle the things we’re working on, we immediately tell them, “I’m a multitasker.” We’re proud of this because we feel that this ability somehow makes us superior beings, smarter than others. But are we really doing multiple things, at the same time?
What does the Doctor says?
Jim Taylor, Ph.D. comments on the misconception about multitask in his article, Technology: Myth of Multitasking (Psychology Today). He says, “There is no such thing as multitasking,” and goes on to explain that while people think they are doing multiple things at once, what they are actually doing is serial tasking.
Dr. Jim Taylor defines this ‘serial tasking’ as “shifting from one task to another in rapid succession.” So the actual meaning of multitasking which everyone is highly regarded for is not true at all. However, what you are really doing is just like Dr. Jim Taylor said, you are typing part of a business email, then you stop for a while to switch to your smartphone for a text messages, but after a minute or so, you stop again and answering a business call. With these actions, can you really finish your work perfectly? So, this lead to the main question
Can People Really Multitask?
Technically yes, it is possible to engage in two tasks at the same time, but the catch is that you can only do this when the tasks are executed using different parts of the brain. This can be proven when you are driving your car while listening to music on the radio. Unfortunately, this does not apply when you are typing a text message while talking on the phone and watching a video. Doing so can cause your brain fatigued and at least not effectively. You’re just not going to retain much if you do that.
Effect of Multitask
Multitasking can be very good for a short period of time but effect your health in the long run. You will have your concentration is being constantly broken and redirected to different tasks, this costs more energy, and ultimately more time to complete tasks. There is a simple solution for this matter and that is by doing one task at a time or also known as single tasking. Single tasking is far more productive and healthier for your brain because you don’t have to endure the mental stress caused by perpetually stopping and starting tasks.
Those who are familiar with the concept of single tasking already understand its value, but the idea is not very popular among our society because we are rewarded for being multitasker. Here is how you can reduce your stress and be more productive with single tasking:
- Start the first task on your list, and focus only on that task, until it is complete.
- Move on to the next task; lather, rinse, and repeat.
- Address interruptions when they come, then resume the current task.
- Prioritize your tasks and projects.
Frantically moving back and forth between texts, calls, emails, and everything else, does not make you more efficient, in fact it’s quite the opposite. This flies in the face of how we are compelled to think, but the truth is that there is great virtue in concentrating on one thing at a time.
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