November 9, 2014

Why Multitasking Makes You Stupid

How many things are you doing while you read this blog post? If you’re multitasking right now. Stop and devote your full attention to this blog. You’ll find out why below.

In today’s hectic world, it’s human nature to multitask. Multitasking is taking on more than one task at a time with the goal to increase productivity. We all do it – talking on the phone while writing emails, clicking links on multiple websites at once, writing to-do lists during important meetings, or even worse, texting while driving.

We are all guilty and technology is partially to blame. Smartphones, apps, and the Internet allow us to do so many things so easily. The cost is that quality plummets and error potential skyrockets when conflicting activities overload the brain. Multitasking is actually a total time waster.

We all believe that multitasking allows us to get more things done in a shorter period of time. Unfortunately, the cost of multitasking is a decrease in quality, reduced IQ, changes in learning patterns, and brain damage. Next time you’re multitasking stop yourself.

The problems associated with multitasking have been proven by numerous scientific studies:

  • Stanford University shows that multitasking hurts your performance levels, reduces quality,  increases loss of attention, and makes work take longer.
  • University of London finds that when you multitask, your IQ drops to the levels of a 8-year old.
  • University of Sussex studied that multitasking can damage your brain by decreasing the brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex.

Yikes! That’s kind of scary. Devoting your full attention to one task helps you to focus your mind, limit distractions, complete your work efficiently, produce better quality work, and do it all faster. It kind of seems like a no-brainer. Do one thing at a time and you’ll be more successful.

Inc described multitasking as “a completely overrated skill” that “is simply an opportunity to mess up many things simultaneously.” Maybe it’s time to stop multitasking and devote your full attention to one thing at a time. If you’re a chronic multi-tasker, don’t worry.

Here are a few tips to get you out of your multitasking habits:

  • Make a schedule and stick to it.
  • Create a to-do list and check things off. Go down the list in order and do them sequentially.
  • Limit distractions.
  • Turn off all bells, chimes, vibrates, and honks that smartphones, emails, and computers make.
  • Focus on one thing and only one thing at a time.

The results are in. Multitasking makes you stupid. It’s any easy thing to change when you realize that you’re doing it.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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