As greedy Millenials, we always aim to have it all. I remember during my management course when a professor humbly bragged about his ability to listen to music, while reading a book, alongside watching a movie on his television. Hah! we thought he was lying, but the more I grew up, the more I realized the potential of being a superwoman myself. Work, household chores, family, etc. my plate was full of time taking and energy-draining activities. Yes, I was one of those industrious people who would boast about their ability to do a sizeable amount of work in a limited time or sometimes all at once.
Many people would swear by their ability to do multi-tasking and how efficiently they can achieve their daily targets. To my understanding, some people are capable of doing several petty gigs simultaneously. However, I am concerned with the practice we as busy humans follow to get things done in a limited period. Besides, you would be surprised to know, that based on certain researches, instead of making us more productive and efficient, multitasking reduces our productivity by 40per cent.
There are ways in which our brain functions and it is not designed to process a multitude of information all at once. Being constantly on the grind can lead to breakdowns, and here's how multitasking impairs our cognitive ability.
Impacts of Multitasking :
Focus and Productivity: Reading a newspaper while having breakfast is a very small example of dual-tasking, this might look like a great energetic morning ritual we follow every day, but in the long run it affects our brain function. Since our brain is designed to perform one task at a time, multitasking causes distraction and eventually impacts our productivity.
It Slows Us Down: Multitasking gives us a false sense of accomplishment by making us believe that we have finished several tasks at a time, but in reality, it slows us down by switching between tasks, because of the several distractions and lack of focus which is the prerequisite of multitasking, it leads to unfinished, semi-finished or inefficient results.
Impacts our Memory: In a Research by Wesley C. Clapp, Michael T. Rubens, Jasdeep Sabharwal, and Adam Gazzaley, although, this phenomenon is more common in older adults than youngsters. Multitasking negatively influences the retention of information over brief periods, thereby impairing our short term memory.
Increases Stress: Multitasking may be the norm of the day or some occupations may require a good deal of multitasking like Doctors, Nurses, Executives, etc. But studies have found that an average person is only capable of doing one heavy-duty task with another remotely demanding one with efficiency. It otherwise, becomes a cause of stress in the long run.
Direct Impact upon Health: As we can see clearly that multitasking increases our stress hormones, this may result into various health issues in the long run, like, Depression, Headaches, Stomach problems, Sleep problems, Back pain and also Heart-related issues.
I understand multitasking can be a necessary evil sometimes, and we may find ourselves trapped with juggling multiple tasks at a time. However, it is advisable to not turn it into practice. To refrain from multitasking, there is a "20-minute rule", which says that instead of constantly switching back and forth between tasks, try to fully devote your attention to one task for at least 20 minutes before switching to the next one. Turn off those notifications on the phone, or avoid taking up those calls when involved with something important. The task at hand demands your attention, so focus. Of course, things like meditation, taking a short break, going out in fresh air or going out for small walks may help, but the real solution lies in taking things slow yet steady.