Who doesn’t multitask nowadays? At work, we’re often forced to do so, because of company cutbacks that leaves increased workloads for fewer employees. In our “leisure” time, we’re on our laptops or Smartphones, simultaneously checking emails, our friends’ Facebook statuses, and tweeting our latest whereabouts. In the car, we do a variety of things along with driving: talking on the phone or texting, eating, putting on make-up, checking ourselves out in the rear view mirror or taking a selfie. We do everything in the car, it seems, except actually paying attention to the road.
So what’s the problem with multitasking?
- It’s not productive. Seriously. It’s not.
- It creates a lack of focus, which may interfere with problem solving and creativity (Skerrett) Experts point out that people are not meant to be so scattered – we become less efficient at what we’re trying to accomplish. (Rosen)
- It’s bad for our brains. In fact, Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, author of Make Your Brain Smarter, goes as far as to say it’s toxic for our brains. Multitasking drains our brain’s energy and “dumbs it down.” Chapman has done the studies: they’ve shown that multitaskers make more errors and suffer from higher stress levels. Another researcher, psychologist David Meyer from the University of Michigan says that it contributes to short-term memory loss.
- It’s stressful. Long-term stress can cause health issues.
- It lowers our IQ. Read more about the study that led to that conclusion here: Infomania Worse than Marijuana
- Multitasking is bad for our social wellness. We have less empathy and compassion for others when we’re multitasking. Is there research to prove that statement? Nope. Just my opinion. Because when we’re talking on the phone while we’re with our kids on the playground, we’re ignoring them. When we’re on a date and both of us are talking or texting on our personal cell phones, we’re not connecting. When we’re walking through a store checking our Facebook wall, taking a selfie, or tweeting, we may not see someone who needs our help.
Many of us multitask to keep up with the new technologies that pop up every second nowadays. We want to stay on top of everything. But in reality, we’re missing what really counts. Giving our undivided attention to a task, thereby accomplishing it well. Giving our undivided attention to a friend or loved one, thereby letting them know we value them.
Chapman, Sandra, PhD. Make Your Brain Smarter, PhD Free Press New York: NY 2013. Print.
Rosen, Christine. The Myth of Multitasking. The New Atlantis. Number 20. Spring 2008. pp. 105-110.
Skerrett, Patrick, Executive Editor. Harvard Health Blog. Multitasking – a Medical and Mental Hazard. January 7, 2012.