Today I’m going to chat to you about multitasking, and why you shouldn’t do it.
Because it doesn’t work.
It’s really easy to think we can multitask, especially when we’re so busy. We’ve got so many things to be done. Surely we can pop a couple of them together, and do them at the same time? Well, not quite.
The truth is that we simply can’t multitask.
It’s not possible for us to do multiple things that require thought at the same time. It’s only possible for our brain to actually process one focused thought at a time. To put information into our short-term memory, requires us to focus, and then the brain converts the thoughts into long-term memory, for us to access later.
So, if the thoughts don’t make it through in the first place, then we have no way of remembering them. We can’t recall things if we weren’t paying focused attention.
When you really think about multitasking, it’s actually wasting our time. We’ll need to redo what it was that we wanted to learn in the first place, because the thought processes haven’t gone through. I’m not going to get too technical, but the brain just doesn’t process it the way it’s meant to.
You know, many of us think that we can multitask, and we can to a degree, if something is on autopilot, you can do it simultaneously as long as one doesn’t require concentration. But once you do need to focus, then you will stop even that mundane task that doesn’t require focus.
A good example of this is, we can walk and talk, or we can walk and talk on the phone, but then once we actually hear something riveting, or that we have to really concentrate on, we stop walking. Or we stop ironing if we’re ironing and chatting on the phone.
You know, I was very guilty of this. As a mother of six with lots going on, I really thought I had multitasking down pat and then I studied neuroscience and I found out that it wasn’t possible. The other thing that I found out was that people who think they’re great at multitasking, like me, they’re usually actually the worst!
So it’s really worth pausing, focusing on just one thing, and then actually going on to the next task. Because even when you’re madly multitasking, like I always was, you know six kids on the go, studying, working, all the rest of it what I was actually doing was jumping from one topic to another and then back and each time we jump we have to refocus.
So you’re losing a lot of time and the brain literally cannot do both thought processes at once so when somebody says to you “keep talking, I’m listening” as they’re madly
checking their phone, or working, they’re actually not. Because it’s not possible
for them to concentrate on what they’re doing.
So you can just remind them and say it’s actually not possible, just pause for a minute listen to me or I’ll talk to you when you finish that. Multitasking is not an easy habit to break. It certainly wasn’t for me because I had done it for many, many years. But, it’s worth breaking it.
You know, I’m still guilty of it now. Sometimes, I’ve got a hundred internet tabs open. I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean, and I’ll flit between one or the other, but as I find I’m getting a little bit stressed, or I’m getting a bit frazzled, or my productivity is dropping, then I’ll close all the other tabs bar the one that I’m working on and I’ll bring my focus back to just that one thing.
So, single tasking is actually the only way to really get something done. If you want to do it really well. It’s a false economy to jump from one thing to another or try and do them at the same time.
Single task works. Believe me.
So tell me, are you a multitasker, or are you a single focused person? And if you are a multitasker, what things do you commonly try and get done at the same time?
Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear