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Why Is Multitasking Bad For Your Effectiveness?

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If you are one of those who are capable of typing a report for tomorrow’s meeting while chatting with a friend over the phone and helping your child do his homework, you are a multitasker. Do not be too quick to praise yourself on that one, though.

We can think our gadget-packed hyperactive lifestyle makes us more efficient, productive and keeps us focused, whereas in fact it makes us much more disoriented. Many researchers say our brain is not designed to effectively perform more than one task at a time, which is exactly what multitasking implies.

They believe that a person, who is trying to perform two or more complex activities at the same time, is forcing his mind to ineffectively switch between tasks and thus loses time. While it is possible for a person to combine such activities as walking or eating with something more complex like reading, doubling up on complex tasks can be a real challenge.

These findings might be useful for students and all kinds of learners for whom it is especially important to stay focused. The studies on the subject reveal that learners tend to retain less information if they try to multitask. This means the time losses occur when they have to revise the material and redo work repeatedly, until students are actually focused.

Over the recent years, technology has been presenting us with numerous and more advanced distractions like smartphones, headsets, which seem to have been created to make our life easier and more comfortable but in fact caused us a lot more stress and added to the volume of tasks we have to perform daily.

Regardless of your age, there are things you can do to become a more focused and result-oriented person. These are simple tips that will help you be an effective multitasker.

1.Pay your full attention to one particular task at a time.

Our fast-paced tech-driven life does not give us the luxury of attending to one thing at a time. We try to perform many tasks simultaneously for we fear that otherwise we might totally lose control of our work. The temptation to do many things at once might be overwhelming. When you feel your work has become less efficient, you need to calm down, make a to-do list and follow it patiently. Once you know the algorithm, you’ll be able to juggle tasks.

2.Learn to prioritize.

Knowing how to set high pay-off and low priority tasks apart will help you make your work more organized and effective. Being productive is always important but it is even more important to be productive on the right tasks.

3.Set time frames for a specific activity.

This will help you avoid spending time for a task that is not important at the moment and give your full attention and concentration to something that deserves it. If you know you have only one hour to complete a particular assignment or project, you are more likely to focus and do your best to hit the deadline.

4.Do not try to do interfering tasks at the same time.

If you choose to do related tasks simultaneously such as, for example, speak on the phone and write an email, nasty things can happen. Similar activities are likely to require you to use the same part of your brain and compete with each other. To avoid this conflict you can combine tasks that do not use similar skills at the same time like writing a report and listening to music. Smartly done this can greatly increase your productivity.


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