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Tag Archives: switch tasking

multitask

The Myth of Multitasking & Why You Need to Stop

Trevor 7 comments

Recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously. The reality of the matter is that we switch tasks quickly. When you read and listen to music or when you text while sitting in a meeting, you’re not really doing 2 simultaneous tasks. There’s a stop and start process that goes on in the brain. This stop and start actually eats up time, is less efficient, has a higher propensity for mistakes and it can be overall exhausting.

 

Still think you are a great Multitasker? Do the following test:

Part A. Instructions: 

1. Draw two horizontal lines on a piece of paper. Now, have someone time you as you carry out the two tasks:

2. On the first line write:

– I am a great multitasker

3. On the second line, write out the numbers 1-20 sequentially:

– 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

 

How much time did it take you? It usually takes about 20 seconds.

 

Now let’s start multitasking.

Part B. Instructions: 

1. Draw two horizontal lines. Have someone time again.

2. Write the first letter on the first line, then write the first number on the second line.

3. Write the second letter on the first line, then write the second number on the second line. For example:

– I am…

– 1 2 3…

4. Continue in this fashion until you’ve completed both the sentence and the number sequence.

multitask-2

How long did it take you? More than likely the time has doubled from the first round. You might have also noticed that you made some mistakes, and probably got frustrated in the process since you had to “rethink” what the next letter would be, and then the next number.

 

What you just did is known as switch-tasking on something very simple, but this is exactly what happens when one tries to do several tasks at one. Keep tabs on yourself to avoid switchtasking, and focus your brain on one task at a time. If you have several tasks at hand, try the Pomodoro Technique, a time management practice.

 

Sources: Psychology Today 

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