If you think you can multitask, think again. Studies are quickly proving that our beliefs about multitasking are all wrong.
What we call multitasking is usually a case of
well managed serial tasking; that is, switching from one task to another in rapid succession.
You may go back and forth between the same tasks several times over the duration, but you are always focusing on one task at a time, not multiple.
Serial tasking is what most of us do when we think we’re multitasking. We do it because we think we’re being effective, but the problem is, we’re not.
The American Psychological Association has found that because of the way our brains have to shift to recover in serial tasking situations, it can take up to 40% longer than when we single task, particularly for complicated tasks.
It is actually less efficient to try to do multiple things at once. What’s more, they are finding that people who multitask
can remember less than their single tasking counterparts.
Let’s think about it another way. If we could multitask, magic would not work. That’s because a magician relies on sleight of hand and distraction to keep you focused on
something other than the trick he is performing.
If you could truly multitask, you could focus on both the distraction and the trick, and not miss a beat. Instead you are amazed when the magician does something you didn’t see coming; amazed, because your single-tasking brain can’t connect the dots. (But don’t feel bad, none of ours can.)
If we really can’t multitask, then why do we believe that we can? Because we’re great at fooling ourselves, that’s why.
So today I challenge you to change your belief, and shatter the multitasking myth. Instead, try to be present and in the moment with everything you do. You’ll find that not only are you more productive, but less stressed. And stress is definitely something we could all use a little less of.