6 Reasons Why Multitasking is Bad

Multitasking is bad in just about every way. But yet there is a cultural acceptance for multitasking and social pressure to do it. Employers seek it. People take pride in the ability to do it. But most do not realize how wrong they are about it.

In the following few minutes I am going to try to convince you to stop trying to multitask!

Brain Loading Multitasking

Multitasking Makes you slower!

When we think we are multitasking we are actually task switching. Because the human brain is not designed to multitask. And our brains are also not that fast at task switching. It takes time to stop and get in gear for another task.

I imagine it kind of like how a computer or game works. We have all seen loading screens before. Every time you switch task your brain has the load the working memory it needs for that task. This is especially hard with more complex task. All this switching and refocusing adds up to the point where it would have been faster to focus on one thing until it was done.

The only things we can truly multitask are the things we can do without even thinking about it. Like chewing gum and walking at the same time. But we are not able to do two things at a time when they both involve the same part of our brains. Such as language processing.

Memory and Missing details

It is impossible to watch a movie and carry on a separate conversation on the phone. You have to keep switching your attention and in the process, you miss a lot. The same thing will happen with any 2 tasks that involve language processing. Your brain can’t process both streams of information at the same time. So, in the end, you do not even remember what you watched or read.

I have noticed this in my own life. For some reason, I thought I could pay attention to the audio in a youtube video or podcast while reading a blog post. But I have never been able to do it. I will give my attention to one and not even remember the other. Or in the worse case, I have no clue what both of them were about.

But it is possible to listen to some music without words while reading. Because the music is not being processed in the same part of the brain as the words in the book. I guess it also works for music with words if you are ignoring the words. But when you try to think about the lyrics you slip back into task switching.

Mistakes

I have also noticed I make a lot more mistakes if I try to multitask. I feel like this falls back to the memory issue. Not being able to remember where you left off or what step you were on when doing something. I have felt my mind blank out at work when trying to multitask. It is like I am waiting at a loading screen while I try to remember where I was at. Then I end up getting something wrong and I have to redo it. That slows you down even more.

Stress

All these mistakes and slowdowns and missing details end up leading to stress. I have times where I start to feel a lot of tension in my body from the stress. Then I feel like I start to do even worse. It goes downhill from there. I think the only way not to get to this point would be to slow down. But then your not even trying to save time anymore so what is the point in trying to multitask?

If you are feeling stressed I have another post called 8 Tips to Help with Stress that you should check out!

Creativity

Multitasking also takes away from your ability to be creative. I am not a psychologist but I have a theory. When you multitask you are overloading your brain. Ones that happens your subconscious does not have the time it needs to piece information together in creative ways.

But whatever the reason there are plenty of others that claim that multitasking hurts creativity.

“Innovative thinking, after all, comes from extended concentration, i.e. the ability to follow an idea of thought down a network of new paths. When you try to multitask, you typically don’t get far enough down any road to stumble upon something original because you’re constantly switching and backtracking.”

https://fortune.com/2016/12/07/why-you-shouldnt-multitask/

Personal Relationships suffer

The saddest thing is it can hurt your relationship with your friends and family. Put down that phone while talking with people. Eat dinner and talk with each other. Focus on your family.

I have felt so guilty before when my 5-year-old was trying to play with me but I was busy researching something on my phone. Or if I use my phone while we are at dinner. I have also felt kind of rejected when I would try to talk to my wife but she would keep playing on her phone. So I know I make others feel the same way when I do it to them.

I try very hard not to do this anymore. I sometimes lay the phone down in the bedroom when I get home and leave it there unless we are going out.

I don’t want to miss out on the life going on around me.

Better Options to Multitasking

The best way to get things done is to batch or queue them up. Make a list and do one at a time. Maybe group similar task together? Like, do all your house cleaning first. Then pay all your bills at the same time.

Another thing to do would be to sort your list by priority. Then you can make sure the things that are most important to you are always taken care of.


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