You’ve got a lot to do today. A list of tasks and not quite enough time.
While you’re in your first meeting of the day you start to manage your email. You’re in the middle of responding to an urgent request when you hear your name and realize you were just asked a question.
After the meeting, you continue like this. Working on multiple projects at the same time. You’re interrupted by the sound of email notifications and quickly jump into email where you get lost once again.
At the end of the day as you shut your computer you realize you never sent that first email. You spend a few more minutes finishing the response (which is late now) and leave for the day.
Your to-do list grew. You don’t feel accomplished. You did a lot of things but didn’t get anything done.
The Problems with Multitasking
Everyone multitasks, it’s in our nature, however, no one is good at multitasking. The human brain is not designed for it. Sure, we can talk and walk at the same time, but when your brain needs to focus on an important task such as reading, driving, learning, or writing, it’s not a good idea to try to multitask.
What we call multitasking is really what is termed “task switching”. This means that you can go back and forth between tasks such as watching TV and reading, for example, but you’re not doing both at the same time.
Here’s why there are problems if you multitask.
It Slows You Down
When you don’t give 100% of your focus to the task at hand, it will take longer. Try it. The next time you need to get something done, set a timer for 30 minutes. Do only that task. Don’t watch TV, listen to the radio, check your phone, or anything. Then do the same task again in the same amount of time while also doing something else. When did you do your best?
It Causes You to Make Mistakes – Even Deadly Ones
When you multitask, you can make mistakes. Would you like it if your surgeon was texting while doing surgery on you? It’s the same as people texting while they drive. How many people have died while doing this? It’s ludicrous that they do this. In many cases, multitasking is deadly. In other cases it causes you to make unneeded mistakes.
It Causes Inaccuracies
Need to do your taxes? Pay attention to exactly what you’re doing and nothing else if you don’t want to make silly mistakes.
It Makes You Stressed
When everything is taking too long, you make mistakes, and then you’re stressed. This stress can manifest itself into sickness, burnout, and worse.
It Increases Problems with Memory
When you have too much going on, it can lead to information overload, which can cause problems with your memory. Your brain essentially starts filtering information incorrectly, which causes everything to have the same weight of importance. This causes you to forget matters of high importance.
It Affects Your Relationships
If you’ve had even one person tell you that you’re on your phone too much, listen to them. That means everyone you know probably thinks you aren’t present during important times. They start to think you don’t care about them, and you won’t be able to build long-term intimate relationships if you don’t take the time to focus on them.
As mentioned before, no one multitasks effectively. They just switch from one task to another. Since it’s not possible to do more than one thing at a time, stop trying. Give yourself enough time to do each thing without interference, and you’ll improve the quality of your life tremendously.
The Truth of Multitasking
Multitasking is an illusion. It allows you to feel busy and productive without getting anything done. Multitasking can ruin your creativity and remove joy from the things you like to do.
Life is a series of events. The more you take time to enjoy those events, the more you’ll get from life. Start to focus on one thing at a time so that you do your best and feel good about it.