Multitasking is very often quoted as one of the beneficial skills in many job descriptions and resumes. However, neuroscientists demonstrated that it had a very negative impact both on people’s health and their overall efficiency.
Regardless of whether you are a college student or an aspiring workaholic, you probably want to find an effective strategy to attain your goals. If this is what your heart desires, make sure to cross out multitasking off your tactics’ list.
In this article I intend to convince you to take responsibility for an adequate planning of your day and refuse multitasking as a way to do it all. It can do nothing good; only ruin your career and life in general.
Multitasking Is a Drug
First of all, let’s try to comprehend what multitasking really is. Most scientists distinguish between two types of multitasking: 1) concurrent (such as reading this article and listening to music) or 2) sequential (such as reading this article and then stopping to check a Facebook message). If I caught you red-handed, congratulations, you are a multitasker.
However, you should realize that such practice is a slippery slope if you want to remain a productive member of society. It is confirmed that this behavior causes addiction, thus disabling people’s capacity to focus on one task for a decent amount of time and yielding results.
The fact of the matter is that when multitasking, your brain releases cortisol and adrenaline that engender overstimulation. You will soon get addicted to this feeling, which will deprive you of the mental capacity to concentrate on important assignments.
The Effects Are Long-Term
Just like with drugs, the effect of multi-tasking will accompany you throughout your life. As you know, people are adaptable creatures that constantly evolve. Multitasking rewires your brain in a way that will render your actions futile.
For instance, if you are having TV on while trying to prepare for an exam; do not be surprised when you flunk it. The issue is not even that TV is distracting, but rather that this information will reside in the wrong part of the brain. It will be harder, therefore, for you to dig it out during the examination.
Moreover, multitasking decreases the level of glucose in your organism, which causes greater levels of stress, anxiety and even aggression. As a result, you feel miserable and lonely unable to figure out the root of the evil.
Multitasking Is Draining
When allowing yourself to jump from one activity to the other, your brain is forced to make numerous decisions in a very short period of time. However, all this fuss will soon exhaust you as, regardless of the grandeur of your choice, it strains and drains your brain very quickly.
Your thoughts will become confused, and your level of creativity and ingenuity will drop dramatically. No rest in the world will bring you in shape, unless you decide to abandon multitasking. If you adhere to it, it will be like trying to stay healthy by doing sport while still taking drugs.
When you wake up in the morning, you need to know exactly what you are going to do. If you plan your day a night before, you will decrease the number of decision-making situations, thus reducing stress and increasing the overall clarity of your thoughts.
Multitasking Is Superficial
I believe it should be palpable for every sensible person that switching between tasks every three minutes is not conducive to deriving deep and innovative conclusions. It is a paradox that people still praise multitasking as one of the top qualities.
You need at least one hour for each of your undertakings to have time for delving deep into it. It will allow you to activate the central executive function of your brain while eliminating the effects of its default state, namely, mind-wandering. It is true that daydreaming is helpful to stimulate creativity, but it is disastrous when you are trying to focus.
It is okay to have 2-3 goals a day as long as you devote adequate time periods for their completion. Do not try to do it all. It is better to finish one quality assignment than to start it all and end the day with no real accomplishments.
Is Multitasking Really That Bad?
Okay, my lovely skeptic, multitasking is terrible in most scenarios. Nonetheless, there are cases when it can help you combine a cognitive activity with something automatic. For instance, driving a car and listening to a podcast is a good organization of your time.
However, you need to ask yourself whether the activity you labeled as automatic is really that automatic for you. For example, if you are a beginner driver, maybe, it is better for your safety that you postpone listening to a podcast until you gain some proficiency. Your brain needs time to transfer an action from the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for taxing cognitive activities to basal ganglia that store habits. Give your brain that time.
I suggest you going on a hunt for those activities that can be automatic and easy for you. If you cannot think of any, create them. Standardizing your life can go a long way in helping you find time for truly essential tasks and not split your attention between multiple meaningless errands.
Multitasking can be tempting for those who have many goals at hand and have not really decided what they want to do in their lives and who they want to become. Those people may have an illusion that they can do everything if they just multitask. However, it is a phony concept that can trap you in the circle of stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Set your priorities and allocate reasonable time every day to achieve your goals. Multitasking is not a solution, but a reasonable outlook on life and smart planning are.