What’s the art of multitasking? Do you know the whole science behind multitasking? Is multitasking good or bad? Does Multitasking make you more productive? Have you ever became the victim of thinking yourself as inferior just because you can’t multitask!
Today we are going to explore all these questions to boost our productivity in life.
So first of all what’s multitasking? Basically, it is the ability of a person to do more than one thing at the same time. If a person is doing two or more tasks simultaneously then it’s multitasking. For instance driving the car while talking to anyone on mobile phone are two different tasks and doing them simultaneously is multitasking.
Many people believe multitasking is focusing on more than one task at a time, which is not even possible. What’s really happening is you’re shifting your attention from one thing to the next – music to email to chatting – every few seconds, without being fully present on one task.
Also keep in mind we are not talking about Multitasking in real Life. By this I mean you can accomplish multiple things in life and can become an all-rounder in life. If you have interest in any sport, website development and painting. You can do all these in your life. What we are discussing about is whether we should Multitask at any fixed time in a day.
Now the question arises is it good to Multitask? The answer to this question depends. But in most of the cases the direct answer is NO! It’s not good to Multitask!
But why? So the purpose of this article is basically not to have any argument on this topic whether it’s good or not. Research shows it’s not good to Multitask while some researches are also in it’s favour with some conditions. So I am not here to argue. Simply the purpose is how to increase your productivity in practical ways in terms of Multitasking.
Now let’s explore the science behind it.
With life getting more demanding and hectic all the time, it seems there is only one way to cope – Multitasking. Many people even try to teach how to get better at it! But in real this term was first used to describe computer performance. The human brain, though, is not a computer & Human attention is a very limited resource.
Human brain basically is unable to do two tasks at the same time! Even it seems that we are doing both the tasks simultaneously but in real what we are doing is switching rapidly between both the tasks and managing them simultaneously. It has been scientifically proven that at any fix point of time, Our Brain can only focus on one thing or task. It’s impossible for our brain to process more than one string of information at the same time. After all it’s not a computer.
Research have shown that Multitasking have a number of harmful effects. Some major are following:-
As our brain have some limits and still We try to do two things at the same time , Chances are that the number of errors would be much more than solo tasking. If we try to manage multiple things, it’s obvious to miss some things and mistakes become normal when it comes to Multitasking. We can ignore simple mistakes which can be recovered but sometimes mistakes have huge impact. That’s why it’s recommended to not drive while calling as a mistake in driving leads to an accident which can even cause serious conditions or death also!
2. Decreased Productivity:-
It’s the biggest trap of Multitasking. People do multiple tasks simultaneously to increase their productivity but in real Researches have shown that their productivity can decrease even by 40 percent!! Focus leads increased productivity and Multitasking never allows focusing more on single thing. Your ability to cope with distractions decreases and your mind starts distracting easily. Multitasking arises out of distractions itself!
3. Decreased Focus:-
A research of Stanford University has shown that everything is a distraction for media multi-taskers. They can’t focus on one thing for long. Their attention span is slowly depleting. And if your focus or attention is low, You can’t accomplish more in life. If you want wonderful performance, you need to be in your flow state with full focus & Multitasking doesn’t let it happen leaving you unproductive! Multitasking causes division of your attention and leads to confusion in your mind and weakened Focus. So if you are a heavy media multi-tasker , Rethink about it now.
4. Drained energy levels:-
What helps you accomplishing more and more productive tasks? Obviously your energy and active brain. But you also had experienced this in your life that Multitasking leads to a messy head. When you have to achieve multiple things at the same time, your brain needs to do a lot of efforts and switch back and forth again and again which drains your mental energy leavening you less energetic and tired. It seems that we save our time by doing multiple things but at the same time we are draining our energy levels and you will exhaust sooner. So your saved small time becomes useless without having the energy to work more. It’s relatable to the hanging of your mobile or computer when multiple tasks are processed simultaneously!
Why people Multitask?
With all these harmful effects known, Why people Multitask? And some are even proud of their Multitasking! They are not aware of the long-term consequences of it. But also there is a need of it.
Now let’s be practical what should we do. Regardless of the research that says Multitasking makes us inaccurate, less productive, low focus and less energy levels, Sometimes tasks and problems come to us from every angle in our life which is needed to be accomplished within time deadlines. So we need something to cope with our busy life and for accomplishing daily tasks effectively. Multitasking is not the effective solution for this. But instead of practicing Multitasking , We should focus on their Time Management. Manage your time effectively and you would find there is no need of Multitasking in life. Sometimes Multitasking helps and doesn’t have affects mentioned earlier. Here we go.
Some people (Very few) manage to perform two tasks at the same time. But the reality is that they have trained their mind to switch their focus back and forth in a very high speed so it seems they are focusing on both at the same time. They don’t focus on two things but what they really do is to learn how to switch between multiple tasks rapidly which has its own consequences.
With practice, the brain can tend to become more efficient at carrying out multiple tasks, but performance is never as good as when the tasks are carried out independently. So No Research would recommend Multitasking over Solo tasking. Multi-taskers (trained) also have to suffer with all the consequences mentioned earlier.
When should we multitask??
Keep in mind that these views on multitasking are mostly relevant while you’re in the workplace. It is possible to multitask in some areas of your life without hindering our output and with some saved time.
So sometimes we can do Multitasking without suffering any harmful effects. The tasks in which Multitasking works are two different tasks which don’t require much attention. There are some tasks were your complete attention is required and if you try to multitask in these tasks, you have to suffer everything’s that’s wrong with Multitasking. So give those tasks your undivided full attention.
Listening music and running, for example, can still be accomplished without any catastrophic end. But these are the tasks in which Multitasking really helps us. Folding laundry and watching TV are also considered multitasking but hardly carries the same weight as texting while driving. So whether productivity or safety matters, it’s wiser to avoid Multitasking.
So with most of the things, the situation itself dictates when it’s appropriate to multitask and when you should focus on one thing at a time.
So you have been aware of all the sufferings of Multitasking. And also when it really helps. But try to neglect it as much as possible. And one more thing, many people have termed their distractions as an independent task and are doing them with their crucial tasks like work or study; and saying they are Multitasking! Learn to know the difference between distractions and tasks that really are good and essential. Some common distractions that are usually done with important work are texting friends, dealing with every notification in the mobile during study or work time, etc. So don’t ruin your focus in the name of Multitasking by just these distractions. Know the importance of concentration and the performance achieved when you are in a flow state. Try solo tasking and remove all other distractions and gain the most of your time.
If you are a person who is not able to multitask and can do one thing at a time only; Congratulations! You are superior to all the multi-taskers. You don’t need to feel inferior to all of them. Your productivity is better and you should be proud of it.
Related – How to increase your productivity?
Hope this article helped in having clarity over this topic. If you have any query, Use comment section to ask it.