Is it doing two or more things at the same time? Is it switching between two or more tasks at a given time? Or, is it performing several tasks one after another, rapidly? The myth of multitasking spreads from all the above.
Perspective about the myth of multitasking
A while ago, multitasking used to be a sought-after quality, and people who could multitask were praised for their skills.
However, recent research suggests that multitasking might be doing more harm than good. Studies conducted to see how the brain reacts to juggling tasks identified that multitasking might not be as effective as previously thought.
Let’s delve deeper into the science behind it!
Multitasking and the brain
Clifford Nass, a Stanford researcher, discovered that serial multitaskers could not identify relevant information from unnecessary details, had relatively more incredible difficulty switching tasks, and were less mentally organized.
This report is quite ironic and confirms the myth of multitasking in which that kind of person is supposed to be the exact opposite.
Scientific research also states that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% reduction in productivity. Shocking!
What’s more, you need not be working simultaneously on two projects to multitask. It counts as multitasking if you play music while working, have the TV on as background noise, or even check your mail in the middle of something.
Yeah, almost all of us are multitaskers in one way or another.
So how does your brain deal with multitasking? Not so well, says science. Allegedly, the human brain is not made for multitasking. It’s said multitasking can:
- Cause mental blocks
- Expose you to distractions
- Impair cognitive ability (thinking)
- Slow you down
- Temporarily reduce your IQ by 15 points
- Increase stress and burnouts
- Negatively impact emotional intelligence.
Is it possible to stop multitasking?
The answer is no and no.
Multitasking is a part of our lives, and there is nothing we can do about it. Consciously or subconsciously, we are constantly multitasking, be it at home or work.
But what we can do is stop juggling tasks. According to psychology professor Hal Pashler, “You can’t do two demanding, even simple tasks, in parallel.” So, it is wise to limit the tasks to two at a time. For example, working on three projects at a time is a big NO.
Use the Pomodoro technique to multitask effectively. Instead of constantly or randomly switching between tasks, work on each task for 20–25 minutes, switching to the other only at the end of the process.
Create to-do lists. There are umpteen ways to create a to-do list. Pick one that matches your work routine and suits your style of getting things done.
Try ‘Batching’ your tasks. Batching involves grouping similar tasks together, which can prevent you from straying to different tasks.
This method helps you avoid frantically switching gears when you multitask, so you are less prone to distractions and can retain focus.
Hence, despite the drawbacks of multitasking, it is impossible to quit cold turkey or quit at all. Thanks to our fast-paced lives.
But the one thing that we can do is change our multitasking game for the better by making little changes to our routine.
Using Akiflow is a good place to start! Because Akiflow cuts back on distractions, helps you focus on tasks that matter without the trouble of having to switch apps, tabs, or windows.